AUSTIN: Advanced UV-Image-Setting Technology Initiative

The UV-Setter The Exposure Head The Wire Chain

Keywords: Multi-Soft-Core Control Architecture, Image Processing, Field-Programmable Gate Arrays, Industrial Application, Nios II, Hardware/Software Co-Design, Low-Cost Implementation

Motivation: The UV-setter is an exposing machine that transfers digitial images onto UV-light-sensitive offset printing plates. Driven by customer demands as well as technological improvements, the UV-Setter has undergone many modifications and enhancements. Due to this rather evolutionary process, numerous components, such as cables, controllers, motors, mechanical components, etc., compete for the ressources and make it very hard to add new features and maintain the UV-setter.

Goals: Developing an intelligent control system that has the following properties:
(1) providing as much functionalities as possible on one single chip,
(2) high flexibility and real-time performance, and
(3) featuring special-purpose image processor for improving both the image quality and the processing speed.

Approaches: This project has explored the following approaches:
(1) developing an FPGA-based control system,
(2) implementing a multi-processor system that employs some soft-core processors, and
(3) complementing the soft-core processors with custom hardware modules in a hardware/software-co-desing process.

Results: Realization of a controller board that is based on an Altera Cyclone EP1C20 FPGA and that has the following capabilities:
(1) Dramatic reduction of all cables and external modules.
(2) Hosting two Nios II processors for controlling the entire system.
(3) Hosting an additional Nios II processor for additional high-speed, online image processing.
(4) The integrated custom hardware processes the images 60 times faster than the software solution.

A Performance Figure

Poster: Further information can be found on the poster.

Research Team: Ralf Joost, Ralf Salomon, and John Hedde (Punch Graphix)


Selected Publications: