Wednesday, May 20, 2009

How to sell a machine vision system

If you sell integration services, then listen up because I’m talking to you. Every year I review many proposals for machine vision systems, but the proportion making it through to reality on the plant floor is very small. One of the problems is that most of the proposals tell me they can solve my problem, but they don’t show me they can do it.

Machine vision has earned itself a bad reputation in many plants, and as a result, most manufacturing engineers act as though they’re from Missouri. (For my readers outside the US, Missouri is the “show me” state.)

What I’m saying is that your proposal must contain evidence of your ability to solve my vision challenge. Evidence means giving me images that show you have a lighting concept creating appropriate contrast. If you can light the part so that what I want to find is clearly differentiated from the background I will have increased confidence in your ability to deliver a working system.

Now I do understand integrators being reluctant to tell the customer exactly how to do the job: if you provide a route map the client might not need you. So leave out the details of ‘how’ but provide some evidence of your ability to solve my problem.

Pictures speak louder than words, and I’m from Missouri.

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