Factory automation given an interface-lift from Pleora

By Freddie Pierce
PleoraTechnologies, the world's leading supplier of high-performance video interfaces, has recorded another industry milestone with the launch of t...

Pleora Technologies, the world's leading supplier of high-performance video interfaces, has recorded another industry milestone with the launch of the first product that transforms Camera Link® cameras into USB3 Vision™ cameras.

With the iPORT CL-U3 External Frame Grabber, designers can cut the cost, improve the usability, and reduce the complexity of vision systems by treating Camera Link cameras like plug-and-play USB 3.0 products.

"Pleora's iPORT CL-U3 meets growing demand from equipment manufacturers for vision system solutions that leverage low-cost, easy-to-use video interfaces such as USB3 Vision," said John Phillips, senior manager, product management, Pleora Technologies. "The iPORT CL-U3 allows manufacturers deploying Camera Link cameras in new vision systems or upgrade projects to benefit from USB3's economical cabling, straightforward installation, and compatibility with a wider range of computing platforms."

The iPORT CL-U3 External Frame Grabber products convert images from Camera Link Medium or Base cameras into a USB3 Vision-compliant video stream. 


The uncompressed video is transmitted with low, consistent latency over a USB 3.0 cable directly to existing ports on a computer or display.

By eliminating the need for a Camera Link frame grabber in a PCIe slot, designers are free to choose from a broad selection of small form factor and low-power computing platforms, including laptops, embedded systems, and tablets.

At the computing platform, the iPORT CL-U3 is supported by Pleora’s feature-rich eBUS™ SDK application tool kit and drivers. This software suite allows designers to rapidly prototype and deploy production-ready software supporting video transmission over 10 GigE, GigE, USB 3.0, and wireless using the same application programming interface (API). 

Pleora will unveil its iPORT CL-U3 External Frame Grabbers, together with its industry-leading portfolio of external frame grabbers and embedded video interface hardware, at The Vision Show 2014 in Boston, April 15-17th, 2014. (Booth #305).

Microscopy and factory automation

Pleora offers a range of iPORT CL-U3 models to meet individual requirements for applications where processing platform options, simplified cabling, and plug-and-play usability can deliver cost, performance, and reliability advantages.

In microscopy applications for life sciences, measurement, and quality control, for example, the iPORT CL-U3 allows designers to retain existing cameras, sensors, and optics while leveraging the ubiquitous computing platform support and simplified cabling of USB3.

In these applications, a Camera Link camera transmits microscopic images to a computer for analysis and observation. Traditionally, these systems have required bulky, specialised cabling and a PCIe frame grabber to capture images at the computer. This results in more complex systems, higher costs, and limited component selection.

In comparison, the iPORT CL-U3 transmits images from the microscope camera over an off-the-shelf, thin, flexible USB 3.0 cable directly to a port on a laptop, single-board computer, or tablet. Integrated programmable logic converter (PLC) and GPIO capabilities allow end-users to control, trigger and synchronise the camera and other vision system elements.

The iPORT CL-U3 product family also includes models that deliver enhanced PLC and GPIO capabilities to minimise the effects of electrical noise, power over Camera Link (PoCL) to simplify cabling, and an extended -20°C to +65°C temperature operating range.

With these products, designers can upgrade legacy industrial vision systems into solutions that are easier to use and manage.  

For example, in bin-picking or sorting robots for assembly and manufacturing lines, the image feed from a Camera Link Base or Medium line scan camera is converted at the source into USB3 Vision-compliant video by the iPORT CL-U3.

Video, power, and control is transmitted between the camera and image-processing computer over a single USB 3.0 cable. The thinner, lighter USB 3.0 cable is easier to route than bulky Camera Link cables, allowing faster setup and teardown of work cells for different products and short production runs.

Leveraging the onboard PLC, the iPORT CL-U3 uses input signals to accurately and deterministically control and trigger the camera and other vision systems elements, such as area sensors and lighting sources.

The sophisticated real-time GPIO interfaces with all types of sensors, and employs differential signaling and high-threshold logic (HTL) techniques to minimize the effects of electrical noise.


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