Designing, installing and maintaining wiring has always been a
big cost component in automation systems, but it's a cost that can increasingly
be controlled as suppliers come up with clever ways to cut some of the cable
clutter. The latest example comes from Baumer
has developed a new machine vision system featuring power over gigabit Ethernet
will send power to the remote cameras through the same Cat-6 gigabit Ethernet
cable and "RJ-45" connectors that the PC-based vision system uses for data.
"Power and data go over one wire. You completely eliminate the need for a
separate power cord for the cameras," says
Doug Erlemann, Baumer's business development manager for cameras.
does require a power injector that looks a bit like a laptop computer power
supply. Yet it is easily installed near the PC that handles all the image
processing tasks. "You just plug it into the power outlet and run the Cat 6
wire through on its way back to the PC," says Erlemann.
the simplified installation and maintenance from removing a separate power
cord, the vision system is in all other respects like the Baumer systems that
have gone before it. The only difference is the PoE camera at 58 x 34 x 34
mm is 10 mm longer than the previous cameras to make room for a power supply
generations, the new camera might reduce wiring requirements even more.
Erlemann says the company is working on sending strobe-light syncing
data over Ethernet, along with the power and data. This move would eliminate
the need for hardwired triggers used in many applications. "That's one more
cable that wouldn't have to be installed," he says.
more, the PoE camera may serve as a platform for other functionality in the future.
Erlemann says it has an embedded FPGA with unused registers, which
could be pressed into service to add more "smarts" to this remote camera.
Baumer will officially unveil the new system in November at the Vision 2008 Show in Stuttgart, Germany. But the company has been
running the system in its labs for months, acquiring many thousands of images
without a hitch, according to Erlemann.
Baumer was set to ship an alpha unit of the system to an automotive customer
who wants to use it for vision-guided robotics in a door assembly operation. Robotic
applications in general will be a strong fit for the system, Erlemann says,
"because of the cost of adding and maintaining cabling on articulated arm