GenICam compliant frame grabber solutions
GenICam (Generic Interface for Cameras) is a global standard which provides a universal software interface for vision-related hardware such as machine vision / industrial cameras and related components such as frame grabbers. The interface is identical whatever imaging standard is used (Camera Link, CoaXPress, GigE Vision, USB3 Vision). GenICam is hosted by the European Machine Vision Association (EMVA) and is provided free of charge.
Interoperability is one of the key benefits with using the GenICam standard. Software that complies with the standard and frame grabbers and cameras that also comply with the standard will always be compatible. FireBird frame grabbers are provided with a GenICam-compliant driver package (known as a “GenTL Producer”) to support applications which use GenApi, GenTL, GenCP or CLProtocol protocols.
The standard also ensures that applications already using the GenICam environment, for example with GigE Vision or USB3 Vision cameras, can easily change to a Camera Link and CoaXPress system and use Active Silicon’s high-speed Camera Link and CoaXPress frame grabbers with minimal change to the application.
GenICam compliant Camera Link frame grabbers
FireBird Camera Link frame grabbers are fully GenICam compliant (Windows), unlike boards from many other brands. With the help of Active Silicon’s GenTL Producer, Camera Link frame grabbers seamlessly support any CLProtocol and GenCP camera and provide immediate compatibility with GenICam-compliant software packages.
All FireBird frame grabbers support GenICam
The CoaXPress standard requires GenICam compliance, hence FireBird CoaXPress frame grabbers are also fully compliant.
When a FireBird frame grabber is installed along with the FireBird GenTL Producer, the FireBird hardware is readily available to GenICam-compliant applications. A developer does not need to be familiar with the frame grabber specific API. The FireBird GenTL Producer will work with a range of 3rd-party packages such as HALCON and Common Vision Blox, as well as many other GenICam/GenTL-compliant software packages.
As part of the software installation, Active Silicon also provides the GenICam standard reference implementation and examples of GenICam applications targeting FireBird hardware. These can be used by customers to form the basis of custom programs.
For easy access and control of cameras and frame grabbers, Active Silicon developed the GenICam-compliant front-end software ActiveCapture (available under Windows). It offers an intuitive GUI and allows users to configure the hardware system and the control of various image acquisition features such as triggering, image resolution, etc. For CoaXPress systems on Linux we provide a modified version of Harvester GUI as front-end software tool, updated to allow control of the grabber as well as the camera.
The FireBird frame grabber range includes:
- Camera Link frame grabbers – 80-Bit (incl. Base, Medium and Full)
- CoaXPress frame grabbers – single, dual and quad (incl. CXP-12 frame grabbers)
Download Active Silicon’s GenICam Solutions Datasheet.
The key components of the GenICam standard
The standard consists of several modules as listed below.
Defines the mechanism used to provide the generic interface via XML file that describes the properties of the device. This includes the specification for the standard and the schema that defines the format of the XML file. It is also the name of the C++ reference implementation of the GenICam, available from EMVA.
SFNC (Standard Features Naming Convention)
Standardizes the name, type and meaning of the features available on devices so that devices from different manufacturers always use the same name for the same functionality.
GenTL (Transport Layer)
The GenTL API provides a standard interface to a device regardless of the underlying transport layer technology. The API allows to enumerate devices, access their registers, stream images and receive asynchronous events.
GenDC (Data Container)
Defines a Generic Data Container (GenDC) format, which allows devices to send any form of data (including 3D, multispectral, metadata etc) in the TL protocol independent of its format.
GenCP (Generic Control Protocol)
Hardware independent protocol which defines register access and events. GenCP is currently used by USB3 Vision and Camera Link cameras.
A software protocol allowing the use of GenICam with non-GenCP Camera Link cameras. CLProtocol enables compatibility with serial port protocols used on Camera Link cameras. Note that the camera vendor will provide a separate DLL to support their specific camera’s protocol.
On the EMVA website are further GenICam resources, information and downloads available.