Monday, April 27, 2009

An insight into product planning at Cognex?

How many color machine vision jobs have you ever done? I’m guessing it’s a very small number. Color images are more complicated to work with, and quite frankly, there are few applications that need them. Even in cases where you need to differentiate between say red and green, you can get away with combinations of colored lights and lens filters. In short, I’m not sure the world is hungry for new color “smart cameras.”

So why have Cognex launched three different
color In-Sight Micros? Yes, it will give some marginal sales growth, but at the cost of further complicating their inventory management processes. I’m just not convinced the market for color is big enough to warrant the increased business complexity.

I suggest there are some other motives at work. I think the real reason for the new cameras is that Cognex are incorporating some of the DVT color algorithms into the Explorer software. In short, this is all part of phasing out Framework, Intellect and the 500 series range of cameras.

Think about it: a range of color In-Sight Micros is one more reason not to offer the old DVT products. If I worked for Cognex I’d probably see that as a sensible decision. Color Micros expand the product range now but will ultimately permit some significant pruning, and presumably some cost reductions too.

I know the fans of scripting will be sobbing into their coffee once more, but it’s just business. Adapt to the spreadsheet or find an alternative product.

By-the-way, the specs on the new cameras are quite interesting, especially the 2 Mp color Micro. It won’t be cheap but it could be a great solution to a problem that absolutely must have a color camera.

No comments: