Optical inspection systems require fast image acquisition at significantly enhanced resolution when utilized for advanced machine vision tasks. Examples are quality assurance in print inspection, printed circuit board inspection, wafer inspection, real-time surveillance of railroad tracks, and in-line monitoring in flat panel fabrication lines. Ultra-highspeed is an often demanded feature in modern industrial production facilities, especially, where it comes to high volume production. A novel technology in this context is the new high-speed sensor for line-scan camera applications with unmatched line rates up to 200 kHz (tri-linear RGB) and 600 kHz (b/w), presented in this paper. At this speed, the multiline- scan sensor provides full color images with, e.g., a spatial resolution of 50 μm at a transport speed of 10 m/s. In contrast to conventional Bayer pattern or three-chip approaches, the sensor presented here utilizes the tri-linear principle, where the color filters are organized line-wise on the chip. With almost 100% fill-factor, the tri-linear technology assures high image quality because of its robustness against aliasing and Moiré effects leading to improved inspection quality, less false positives and thus less waste in the production lines.
Today, high-quality printing products like banknotes, stamps, or vouchers, are automatically checked by optical surface inspection systems. In a typical optical surface inspection system, several digital cameras acquire the printing products with fine resolution from different viewing angles and at multiple wavelengths of the visible and also near infrared spectrum of light. The cameras deliver data streams with a huge amount of image data that have to be processed by an image processing system in real time. Due to the printing industry’s demand for higher throughput together with the necessity to check finer details of the print and its security features, the data rates to be processed tend to explode. In this contribution, a solution is proposed, where the image processing load is distributed between FPGAs and digital signal processors (DSPs) in such a way that the strengths of both technologies can be exploited. The focus lies upon the implementation of image processing algorithms in an FPGA and its advantages. In the presented application, FPGAbased image-preprocessing enables real-time implementation of an optical color surface inspection system with a spatial resolution of 100 μm and for object speeds over 10 m/s. For the implementation of image processing algorithms in the FPGA, pipeline parallelism with clock frequencies up to 150 MHz together with spatial parallelism based on multiple instantiations of modules for parallel processing of multiple data streams are exploited for the processing of image data of two cameras and three color channels. Due to their flexibility and their fast response times, it is shown that FPGAs are ideally suited for realizing a configurable all-digital PLL for the processing of camera line-trigger signals with frequencies about 100 kHz, using pure synchronous digital circuit design.
Dealing with high-speed image acquisition and processing systems, the speed of operation is often limited by the amount
of available light, due to short exposure times. Therefore, high-speed applications often use line-scan cameras, based on
charge-coupled device (CCD) sensors with time delayed integration (TDI). Synchronous shift and accumulation of
photoelectric charges on the CCD chip - according to the objects' movement - result in a longer effective exposure time
without introducing additional motion blur. This paper presents a high-speed color line-scan camera based on a
commercial complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) area image sensor with a Bayer filter matrix and a field
programmable gate array (FPGA). The camera implements a digital equivalent to the TDI effect exploited with CCD
cameras. The proposed design benefits from the high frame rates of CMOS sensors and from the possibility of arbitrarily
addressing the rows of the sensor's pixel array. For the digital TDI just a small number of rows are read out from the area
sensor which are then shifted and accumulated according to the movement of the inspected objects. This paper gives a
detailed description of the digital TDI algorithm implemented on the FPGA. Relevant aspects for the practical
application are discussed and key features of the camera are listed.
Today, printing products which must meet highest quality standards, e.g., banknotes, stamps, or vouchers, are automatically checked by optical inspection systems. Typically, the examination of fine details of the print or security features demands images taken from various perspectives, with different spectral sensitivity (visible, infrared, ultraviolet), and with high resolution. Consequently, the inspection system is equipped with several cameras and has to cope with an enormous data rate to be processed in real-time. Hence, it is desirable to move image processing tasks into the camera to reduce the amount of data which has to be transferred to the (central) image processing system. The idea is to transfer relevant information only, i.e., features of the image instead of the raw image data from the sensor. These features are then further processed. In this paper a color line-scan camera for line rates up to 100 kHz is presented. The camera is based on a commercial CMOS (complementary metal oxide semiconductor) area image sensor and a field programmable gate array (FPGA). It implements extraction of image features which are well suited to detect print flaws like blotches of ink, color smears, splashes, spots and scratches. The camera design and several image processing methods implemented on the FPGA are described, including flat field correction, compensation of geometric distortions, color transformation, as well as decimation and neighborhood operations.