Sunday, May 3, 2009

Changing footprint?

For the uninitiated, StockerYale (SY) make machine vision lighting. While probably best known for their lasers, they also offer LED illumination, (I’ve been impressed with their COBRA line scan illumination product,) and a range of fluorescent lights. In previous years they’ve earned most of their money in the North American industrial market, but according to their Q1 2009 financial report, that may be changing.

CEO Mark Blodgett commented that they are seeing growth in defense and medical markets, that while not compensating for the decline in automated inspection business, is helping to maintain margins.

Diversification is good, but my suspicion is that this growth is happening within the US. In other words, SY are not taking advantage of opportunities in other parts of the world. The structured lighting marketplace is quite crowded and I can’t help thinking that it’s easier to fall back on domestic defense business than it is to go head-to-head with some of the European players such as
Global Laser and Z-Laser. Fortunately, SY have avoided taking the axe to R&D, so perhaps they have some innovations up their sleeve.

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