What is Industrial Imaging?


How is an industrial camera different from a consumer camera?

We’re often asked, “What is industrial imaging?” Or, “What exactly do you mean by industrial cameras?” Another question might be, “are industrial cameras different from machine vision cameras?” These are all valid questions. Since imaging and photography are broad categories it is easy to understand why it is important to clarify what constitutes industrial imaging. First, here we use the term industrial cameras and machine vision cameras interchangeably. Second, some basic distinctions are in order. The following distinctions will speak directly from Rice Camera’s perspective (other suppliers may vary or differ) but overall this will hold true. The cameras that are used in industrial imaging applications are not the same as those used by consumers. You are not going to take an industrial camera to the beach, use it for selfies, or make musical.ly videos with one of our industrial /machine vision cameras. Similarly, an industrial application is not going to use your iphone camera or Nikon Coolpix (not for high-end applications and not yet anyway). Sometimes uninformed people contact Rice Camera and want to buy one of our industrial cameras for photography or their upcoming vacation and it’s just a totally different piece of equipment. There are similarities in some of the functional elements and to make matters more confusing the CCD or CMOS imaging sensor inside of a Sony consumer camera could be the same sensor that is used in an industrial camera. Confused? Don’t be. Here is the easiest way to understand how a consumer camera differs from an industrial camera. Whereas a consumer camera is ready to go ‘out of the box’ or by adding a lens, an industrial camera is really not use-able by itself. In fact, a better way to think of an industrial camera is that it is more of a component than a camera.

Industrial imaging applications use cameras as key components that are added to a system that includes other components such as: cables, optics, mounts, illumination, software, monitors, and controllers. Only when the camera and all of the components are added together will the industrial imaging system be ready for use.

Industrial Imaging Applications

Modern factories use cameras to ensure quality and reliability standards are met during the manufacturing process. There is a growing list of exciting applications for industrial cameras operating in both the visible and infrared.

Here are some industrial imaging applications supported by Rice Camera:

  • Food inspection
  • Metrology
  • Microelectronics inspection
  • Bottle inspection
  • Interferometry
  • Automated optical inspection (AOI)
  • Print inspection
  • Quality control
  • Traffic monitoring
  • Welding
  • Industrial robotics
  • Thermal monitoring
  • Optical Character Recognition
  • Industrial process monitoring

There are a many more applications and the list continues to grow. A high quality camera can ensure optimum results and often makes all the difference in system performance. If you require a camera for your industrial imaging application – contact Rice Camera.