Sony offers more than 60 types of area image sensors, adapting to the fast-evolving industrial machines to cover various customer requirements. We are proud to introduce two most notable product families--Pregius/Pregius S technology image sensors suitable for high-precision inspection of moving objects, on the one hand, and lLarge CMOS image sensors, which enable wide-area, high-definition imaging. Check out their unique features. Also, you can find the image sensor that best meets your needs by using our product selector, that covers the entire product range.
Pregius and Pregius S are Sony’s technological trademarks for a group of CMOS sensor global shutters and their peripheral technologies. Image inspections for machine vision, smart industry, etc. require processing of a large volume of image data at high speeds, the task for which Sony CMOS image sensors with Pregius/Pregius S technology are ideal, as these enable to capture high-quality, undistorted images at high speeds. These products also expand the scope of their applications from factory automation to other industrial imaging and sensing contexts, such as traffic monitoring and infrastructure inspection.
Go to video content and technical descriptions about Pregius/Pregius S
Enhanced efficiency through higher precision and shorter time is a prerequisite for realizing advanced automation, such as by replacing naked-eye visual inspection, in manufacturing and logistics. Machine vision cameras are a primary device that perform the task, and they require high-spec image sensors with improved resolution and frame rates. Launched in 2014, Pregius technology image sensors have been significantly improving productivity by offering both high speed and high precision in their performance.
Boosting the number of pixels in an image sensor to meet the demand for even higher resolution would increase the chip size, which was a problem as it would make the camera larger. Conversely, reducing the pixel size to maintain the camera size would compromise the sensitivity and signal saturation levels due to the restrained light collection area per pixel. This would inevitably lead to deterioration of image quality, and in turn to inferior recognition/detection performance.
Addressing these issues, we launched a new CMOS image sensor with a stacked and back-illuminated pixel structure in 2019. This revolutionary new structure has achieved both higher definition and size reduction. We gave this technology a name “Pregius S.” With its extensive product lineup, Sony takes the machine vision industry to a next level. (see also Technology descriptions of Pregius/Pregius S)
Pregius: 4 Series of Products
The back-illuminated pixel structure adopted in Pregius S global shutter technology has made both higher definition and smaller size a reality, on top of its non-distortion imaging functionality.
This new structure has a superior light collection efficiency compared to the conventional front-illuminated structure and, while maintaining the levels of sensitivity and saturation capacity, achieved a reduction of the pixel size down to 2.74 µm square, about 63% of the conventional models.*1 In addition, rearranging the circuit area from the edges to the back of the sensor area has helped to achieve a 1.7-fold increase in resolution for the same optical size and reduce the package size to about 91% of the existing products.*1
As a result, it can achieve a high-definition small-sized machine vision camera compatible with up to approx. 24.45 M effective pixels in a C-mount 1.2-type sensor, allowing more flexibility in its applications to systems and production lines.
*1. Compared to “IM253” and “IMX531,” Sony’s 1.1-type CMOS image sensors with 12.37 M effective pixels.
Comparison with conventional sensors
Data readout has significantly improved (2.4 times faster than previous products*1) in Pregius S by virtue of the highly-flexible wiring layout potential of the back-illuminated pixel structure, together with the adoption of SLVS-EC, a high-speed interface standard for adopting the embedded clock style. This potentially improves the takt time and throughput of the manufacturing systems or equipment.
As technologies such as USB 3.0 and 5 GigE become more prevalent, our standard 5 Gbps-compatible product range is enhanced by an extensive lineup of high-speed products for high-end cameras that use a high-speed band, improving the productivity significantly through reducing the time necessary for inspection, image recognition, identification, measurement, and other types of measurement and inspection.
Find out more about SLVS-EC
Capture performance for the same amount of time
C-mount lens compatible image sensors are a standard option for industrial machines, but larger unit multi-pixel sensor will enable high-definition imaging of wider areas.
For example, a comparison between the images taken with 1/1.1” 12.37 M pixels sensor and one with 127.68 M pixels sensor clearly shows the difference. This will enable to lower capture frequency, which contributes to improved efficiency. It also enhances recognition accuracy by the high resolution imaging.
Comparison of capture area size
There are many products to choose from, with either a global shutter or a rolling shutter.
Image sensors with a global shutter can capture images without distortion, ideal for high-speed inspection processes or shortening machine takt time. Image sensors with a rolling shutter can realize high-definition, low-noise image inspection even in a low-contrast environment with long exposure.
Industries are accelerating the miniaturization of parts and components in recent years, and they need enhanced functionality with better recognition accuracy and fast imaging processes.
Improvement in accuracy and time is expected, for example, in the inspection of high-productivity products, such as electronic circuit boards and displays.
Its application extends beyond manufacturing, into wide-area monitoring, aerial photography, agriculture, infrastructure inspection, and other areas that require high resolution imaging.