04 Jul 2012
One new sensor and mass production of another indicate that parts of the CMOS sensor market remain robust.
Cmosis, the Belgium-based developer of advanced CMOS image sensors, has announced the introduction of a 20-megapixel sensor to its CMV product range, intended for use in industrial vision applications.
The CMV20000 was originally developed as a customized, exclusive product aimed at complex traffic management applications. However, an agreement with the original customer now allows the sensor to be available to third parties for applications outside the traffic field.
The sensor features a 20 megapixel resolution of 5,120 x 3,840 pixels. It employs 6.4-micron square pixels, resulting in an active sensor area of 32.8 x 24.6 mm, equating to 35 mm film optical format. It is housed in a ceramic 143-pin PGA package and can be operated in the -20 to +70 ºC temperature range, allowing it to be used in a number of demanding industrial environments.
Cmosis indicated that the monochrome variant of the CMV20000 image sensor is now in production. A color variant, with RGB Bayer CFA filter, will be introduced to the market in Q4 2012.
The company also announced that it has entered mass production of its CMV12000 product, a 12-megapixel 150-frames-per-second CMOS image sensor, in both monochrome and color variants. It features 4,096 x 3,072 resolution with 5.5 micron pixel size.
Mass production will broaden the current CMV portfolio of CMOS image sensors, with a device addressing the high-resolution segment of the industrial and broadcasting vision applications, according to Cmosis. An ability to capture high-resolution in 4K HD format, with high dynamic range and global shutter, make the sensor suitable for broadcasting, traffic monitoring, high-end industrial imaging and automation systems.
CMOS market forces
Cmosis was created in 2007 as a fabless CMOS image sensor vendor. It was founded by some of the key people behind FillFactory, itself a spin-off from the Belgian microelectronics research hub Imec. FillFactory was subsequently acquired by Cypress Semiconductor, and Cmosis draws on the experience of all three organizations in its development efforts, according to the company.
It now services the industrial and professional market as a privately held, pure play, turnkey solution provider for image sensors.
The signs are that Cmosis and other vendors of CMOS sensors are continuing to face varying fortunes in the current economic climate. OmniVision Technologies, a manufacturer with substantial interests in the consumer sector, recently reported a strong sequential increase in sales of image sensors thanks to growing demand for smart phones and tablet PCs featuring higher-resolution cameras. OmniVision has itself just launched a 12-megapixel device compatible with most designs of these devices.
But the company none the less also faced a 15 percent drop-off in year-on-year sales, an 8 percent fall in yearly revenues, and a 47 percent slip in annual profits, partly due to squeezed margins as the company moves to a 12-inch semiconductor wafer platform for some products.
OmniVision's strategy currently includes diversifying into the automotive and medical sectors, an indication that vendors recognize the significant opportunities to be found in the industrial CMOS market.
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