New Image Sensors from AMS Designed for Industrial Vision Equipment 

February 11, 2021 by Robin Mitchell

Industrial optical specialist, AMS, announced their latest vision of the sensor range for high-speed industrial applications. 

Who is AMS?

AMS AG is an Austrian electronics company, formerly known as Austria Micro Systems. The company designs and manufactures various sensors. The company has over 40 years of design experience, 9,000 employees worldwide, more than 8,000 customers, and 18 design centers around Europe, Asia, and the U.S. 

AMS focuses on various sensing areas, including optical, imaging, and audio sensing. AMS holds various manufacturing partnerships to scale product production.  


AMS Announces CSG Image Sensor Family

AMS released their CSG sensor family, providing industrial applications with imaging sensors with high resolutions and high frame-rates. The new family is split into two categories. The CSG14K has a resolution of 14MP, and the CSG8K has a resolution of 8MP.


The CSG sensor family. Image courtesy of AMS AG.


Both sensor families provide similar options regarding images taken. To start, both provide monochromatic color. Both sensors also use low-voltage differential signaling (sub-LVDS) as an output interface. The two families also offer a global shutter, a pixel size of 3.2um, and are mounted on land grid array (LGA) packages. 

Both sensor families also have a range of imaging features essential to modern automation systems, including correlated double sampling (true-CDS), low noise, and high-dynamic range (HDR). 

These sensors also provide output data compression, binning for higher full well capacity (FWC), Dynamic range (DR), and signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), external trigger, exposure controls, and image statistics. 

However, the resolution is not the only varying factor between the CSG14K and CSG8K. 

While both sensors aim to provide high FPS video, the CSG14K has a lower maximum FPS of 140, while the CSG8K has a maximum FPS of 231. This is due to the larger sensor size of the CSG14K, having almost twice as many pixels as the CSG89K. 

The two families also differ in optical format and size. The CSG14K has a size of 1.1 inches, and the CSG8K has a size of 1.0 inches. The larger size of the CSG14K and lower FPS are better suited for low-light situations. The CSG8K can work better for fast-moving applications.

However, both sensors have high FPS for their capabilities. Another major difference between the two sensors is the aspect ratio. The CSG8K offers a 1:1 crop ratio (typical for sensors and scanners) while the CSG14K offers a 16:9 ratio (commonly found on screens and displays).


AMS image sensing capabilities. Image courtesy of AMS AG.


Image quality affects the speed at which the two sensors can operate at 12-bit mode. The sensor provides high-quality images and a large range but will reduce the maximum FPS (from 140 to 93.6 for the CSG14K and 231 to 155 for the CSG8K). 


The Importance of Imaging Sensors in Industrial Applications

Automatic Optical Inspection, or AOI, allows industrial processes to use computers and camera equipment to automatically observe a product or process to determine the final quality. AOI can be highly effective in detecting defects in products that may go unnoticed by workers. 

Implementing AOI can be a challenge due to variable lighting, production speed, consistency. Ideally, image sensors should operate at high speeds, in a wide range of lighting conditions, and provide high resolution for object detection. 

The sensors allow users to choose between high-resolution and high-speed, while the monochromatic nature allows color to be ignored (the color is not always crucial in AOI). 

The HDR technology captures all details regardless of the facility’s lighting. Exterior controls over exposure also allow for an industrial inspection system to make changes to real-time exposure, maximizing the sensor’s capabilities.

AMS AG designed these new image sensors with AOI to support quality control in factories and facilities.