How SMARTEK Vision goes the CMOS way and enables tailor-made industrial cameras

Damir Dolar, Head of Development, talks about the transition process, SMARTEK’s roadmap and the advantages of a modular European camera production.

Damir Dolar, Head of Development, SMARTEK Vision

Mr. Dolar, how did SMARTEK react as you heard about the discontinuation of Sony’s CCD technology?

At SMARTEK Vision, we are an innovative European camera manufacturer and it’s our passion to meet our customers’ requirements the best and to adopt game changing industry trends quickly. Sony’s announcement not to continue the CCD sensor production was quite surprising but as well a confirmation for an already started way. Only 2 years ago, CCD sensors were still leading in areas where CMOS can provide better features and results now. With the heavily improved image quality thanks to low noise, low dark current characteristics and a high dynamic range combined with Global Shutter, high quantum efficiency, much higher frames rates, no blooming or smearing effects and at least a better cost structure CMOS is cutting-edge technology.

Which advantages your customers can benefit from the change to CMOS?

Many of our customers are from the manufacturing, medical or traffic surveillance area. These industries benefits the most from CMOS progress by more speed, lower noise and higher resolution. Improvements on CMOS chips ensure that today's CMOS sensors achieve the same or even better sensitivity than CCD sensors. The higher dynamic range leads to clear details and contrast in difficult light situations. With high CMOS framerates in combination with GigE Vision or USB3.0 Vision, applications can fully use the given data output to enhance the entire system.

Sony is providing new CMOS Pregius sensors to the market. What about your portfolio integration plans?

We were very proud being able to implement Sony’s IMX174 as one of the first camera manufacturers and to provide our customers within our flagship GCP1931 camera. For more price sensitive applications requiring less speed we have already implemented IMX174’ smaller brother IMX249 in our GC1932. By the end of this quarter, the first samples of next IMX sensor generation IMX250/252 with raised resolution up to 3/5MP, combined with further optimized low dark current characteristics and low noise are available in the GCP 2061/2461 and mass production will start by the end of the year. On top, we are planning to have Sony’s high-resolution models IMX253/255 ready for the market mid-next year.

How do SMARTEK Vision entering on individual customer and application requirements?

Besides the further development of our standard camera series with an dedicated CMOS focus the realization of individual customer requirements is top priority as well. With our development and production in Europe we already have proven how quickly and flexible we can react with high quality and flexibility. Base is our broad product portfolio with different housing types, board level cameras and integrated sensors types and functions. Based on our experience and state-of-the-art lightening products and strobe controllers (IPSC and HPSC series) as well as integrated lightning we can support realizing individual application solutions in addition to simple camera development.