What is SignaTech – and Why is it Important to You?
SignaTech (Signature Technology) is Advanced illumination’s proprietary control system that allows our LED illuminators in machine vision systems to operate at maximum output under all operating conditions, while protecting the light head from damage. It is comprised of three key aspects: an LED characterization process, hardware, and software.
Key LED characterization information is either stored in the hard-coded inline current source (iCS) controllers, or it’s stored into a light head’s EEPROM, which is located in its connector and used with our microprocessor-based external controllers. Microprocessor-based controller software reads the stored info, sets the operating conditions, and manages any GUI and I/O functions.
The SignaTech Control System allows pulsing of certain LEDs up to 50x overdrive currents while still maintaining the highest flux output and longest lifetime of the LEDs. Ai Engineering fully characterizes each LED type designated for possible inclusion into our illuminators. This extensive characterization procedure means that SignaTech is custom programmed for each unique illuminator in machine inspection systems – while also regulating operating parameters so that the lights cannot be damaged during operation.
How SignaTech Works
Ai electronics are intelligent: microprocessor-based SignaTech controllers verify the electronic signature of a light head and automatically adjust the output current and pulse width accordingly, based on the duty cycle. This allows our illumination products to operate with designed maximum light output and minimum waste heat. SignaTech is currently built into any light using an ICS controller, including the DCS100/103, the Pulsar320, and the DCS400/800 (to be released July 2019); any Ai controllers that use strobe overdriving contain SignaTech.
Along with the above advantages, it’s important to understand that SignaTech is a “plug-and-play” way to overdrive lights to very high brightness levels – specifically in applications where the camera needs to “freeze motion” or reduce camera pixel blur in high-speed inspection applications. SignaTech takes the guesswork out of overdriving LEDs, allowing the end user to save time in installation and maintenance while having confidence in the light’s performance and longevity. While other manufacturers may leave it to the end user to risk their lights when overdriving, Ai ensures the safety of your lights with SignaTech, as we offer both the illuminator and controller designed to work together.
Data Gathering: Bar Light Example
To illustrate the performance of SignaTech, we tested the LEDs in our AL295 MicroBriteTM Bar Light driven at high levels using SignaTech, and plotted their absolute brightness increase. Below is a chart representation of the data we gathered during a typical pulsed overdrive application.
For this particular LED, the maximum safe current supplied for continuous illumination is typically 1A, indicated in Chart I as Max Intensity without SignaTech. In the case of strobe overdrive at short trigger input pulse widths, SignaTech would allow operators to pulse at almost 30A, which would equate to approximately an 8x overdrive and an associated 8x increase in light intensity, compared with LEDs not SignaTech-enabled. Actual numbers will vary depending on the LEDs used in the application.
Illumination Application Example
Using the above-mentioned white AL295 MicroBrite light source, we captured two bar code images. As seen below: Image A is a typical capture from scene illumination in continuous-on mode without strobe overdrive. Notice that the absolute brightness and contrast are insufficient for adequate bar code read or verification. Image B displays how strobe overdrive affects the image captured; the overdriven LEDs effectively illuminate the barcode with increased brightness and contrast, with no adverse effect on the LEDs used in this machine vision application.
Does your application use strobe overdrive illumination? Do you currently struggle effectively illuminating your parts and believe that controlled strobe overdrive may improve your machine vision application? Reach out to one of our technical experts today and we’ll help you find the right solution for your machine vision needs!