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New Epoch in Surveillance: Chinese Mini Speed Domes

Mini speed domes are designed for small applications, such as retail stores, which not only require security but also must aesthetically pleasing devices. A&S showcases Chinese mini speed domes.

Speed dome once was a hot and profitable product while it has been introduced in 2001. Many Chinese manufacturers have jumped to manufacturing speed domes at that period of time. After 2003, while a very limited profit remained, the speed dome market has turned to technology and market oriented. Manufacturers are now investing more in R&D to develop more suitable products for the industry. This situation has relieved buyers' concerns in terms of camera's quality and stability.

Chinese manufacturers, such as Actiontop, Minking, Foready, SAE, HTS and Hongben Digital are producing mini speed domes. According to Glen Qiu, Technical Manager at Actiontop, the company has designed mini speed domes since 2006. "More and more demand is coming from home and retail customers," he said.

Actiontop introduced its first mini slow-speed dome in 2007. Even though there were a lot of other of speed domes, delivering compact, sophisticated ones emerged as a potential niche. "Introduction of zoom cameras was the first step," Qui said. "Hitachi, Samsung and Sony are the three 3.8-inch zoom camera providers so far. They all feature 10x optical zoom." Actiontop shifted to designing a compact housing into which could be placed a stepping motor, PCB board and all the wiring. Actiontop also provides a full series of mini speed domes from slow and medium (its Luna 4 rotates 120 degrees per second) to high speed with 300 degrees per second  the Luna 5.

"We use stepping motors from Japan," said Qui. "Stepping motors play a crucial role in terms of power consumption and heat dissipation. That is what concerns buyers most. During SecuTech in Taipei this year, a buyer came to our booth and leaned his ear right beneath the housing to determine if the stepping motor was running smoothly; he also touched the housing to check for over-heating. He gave our products a thumbs up.

" Another concern is the optical dome cover. "Covers affect image resolution," said Pan Minzhong, General Manager at Fran M&E Technology. "Dome covers are the camera's eyes. Generally, a cover needs to be more than 90 percent transparent. Resolution and weather resistance are other key criteria. Our
cover is resistant to temperatures from
130 degrees Celsius to minus 100
degrees Celsius."

"We have designed a more compact mechanism," said Luo."Middle- and low-end markets are our main focuses, therefore, we have driven from the concept of easy installation and maintenance, only 202 by 160 millimeters in size and 1.4 kilograms in weight."

Fran M&E Technology uses advanced molding machines to ensure product quality and top materials: PMMA and PC. PMMA delivers good resolution but not resistance; PC provides both. With eight years experience in the industry, Fran's products has over 90 percent of market in China as well as drawing other big names' attentions, such as Sanyo, Samsung, Honeywell, Axis and Bosch.

Actiontop, said Qiu, is looking to mini speed domes as IP modules mature. "The most difficult thing is embedding fixed-size IP modules into a limited space. Many Taiwanese and Korean manufacturers are working on this as well. We expect to have IP mini speed domes launched at the end of 2008. After IP, we would like to add auto-tracking."  Hongben Digital is also designing its next-generation mini speed dome. "We are pretty open to any new technologies," said Xu. " We are working on infrared (IR), thermal imaging as well as laser. Among these technologies, IR has the greatest potential.

General Features of Current Chinese Mini Speed Dome

For an idea of what is currently on the market,check out Minking's MG-HU105B mini indoor speed domes, which feature a die-cast aluminum design and 360-degree continuous rotation with maximum speeds up to 300 degrees per second. The MG-HU105B also has coordinate display and one pattern tour capability. The onscreen display (OSD) provides for preset and camera address. It also offers multi-privacy zone masking, six programmable cruising tracks, 128 preset points, self-check, 24-volt AC and external synchronization.

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