Camera Link · CoaXPress · Range Extenders

Extending your Vision – How Range Extenders are adding value to High Speed Machine Vision Applications

Over the last 18 years, options for acquiring and analyzing images has increased dramatically.  Today’s choices include Camera Link, CoaXpress, Camera Link HS, USB (2 and 3), GigE Vision, 10 GigE and the newer Thunderbolt I/O.  However, limits exist for all these technologies with regards to cable length and bandwidth.  These limits create challenges for even the most experienced machine vision application engineer.

Camera Link and CoaXPress are highly recommended for high speed events.  Camera Link (now at version 2.0) is still a go to standard, with a maximum distance of 10 meters and a payload throughput of 850 MB/s it was built for real time, high bandwidth communication.  Buyers of Camera Link have plenty of options when it comes to the cameras, as well as all the connected devices that use the Camera Link standard (as of the last posting, 84 manufacturers have licensed Camera Link products).   The newer, CoaXpress standard was introduced by the Japan Industrial Imaging Association in 2009 and in cooperation with other interested parties maintain the standards.  CoaXpress offers users up to 6250 Mb/s of data transfer at 40 meters and 1250 MB at 130 meters which is more robust, although there are less than 10 manufacturers of CoaXPress cameras, supported devices such as Frame Grabbers and cables are well represented in the industry.

With the limits on distance and bandwidth, Camera Link and CoaXPress posed design challenges as the cameras had to be closer to the objects being captured and recorded.  Technology introduced in 2016 allows extending the range and maintains the high quality, high speed imaging for which standards are known.

Leading the way in these technologies, Kaya Instruments based in Israel has introduced extenders for both Camera Link and CoaXPress.  Constructed of two converters, one on the camera side and one on the Camera Link/CoaXPress frame grabber side, these devices provide bidirectional communication over fiber.  The camera link extender offers 10.3125 Gbps equal to Camera Link Full/80 bit (Deca) over a single fiber cable. The CoaXPress extender introduced in 2017, increases the standard CoaXPress transmission distances yet maintains the low jitter, low latency and high resolution CoaXPress delivers.  The extender enables video, control signals and power over CoaXPress (PoCXP) transmission for full control of data stream and camera handling. The CoaXPress range extender can provide a downlink of up to 6.25Gbps and uplink at 20.83Mbps.  Other options from Kaya Instruments include; CoaXPress over Coax, Single Link CoaXPress. Additionally, acquisition systems for both Camera Link and CoaXPress provide the extended distances and increases data transfer rates using interface boards with the extender.  Starting at around $1,500 these devices will expand Camera Link and CoaXPress capabilities making these standards a solid go to solution for high speed, high bandwidth, extended distance applications.

Other manufacturers are also recognizing the need to extend the range of Camera Link and CoaXPress.  Manufacturers Phrontier Technologies, SkyBlue, and Vivid Engineering are just a few who have solutions available.

So, don’t let the limit of the standard hold you back, these relatively low-cost devices can Extend your Vision.  If you are facing a challenging vision project, give us a call or email us at [email protected].  With 20 years of experience in machine vision, we have most likely already solved your challenge.  Machine vision is touching every industry and solving real world problems, can’t wait to see where you all take it next.

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