Sunday, December 5, 2010

More than just a machine vision integrator

Let’s face it, integration is a tough business in which to make money. There’s the constant problem solving, the lack of replication opportunities and of course the ever-present need to drum up new business, and that’s without managing the cash flow. For many small integration businesses it’s all they can do to keep their heads above water.

So how, I wonder, did Automation Engineering Incorporated (AEI) find the time to develop their own machine vision software product, FlexAuto?

I haven’t tried the product myself, in fact I’ve only just learnt of it through an integration story in Industrial Laser Solutions (“Vision guided laser welding improves battery safety & performance” November 2010,) but this led me to the AEI website.

Judging by the applications they show, AEI is a pretty impressive organization, strong on both vision and motion control, which is a niche the FlexAuto product seems aimed at. To explain, it’s one thing to develop a vision application that can measure parts, verify correct assembly or find flaws, but merging it with all the necessary motion control opens a massive can of worms. FlexAuto, judging by what I’ve read, aims to simplify those integration headaches, (how’s that for a mixed metaphor?) so in my view it has to be worth a closer look.

And returning to my opening point, I have to wonder how AEI found the time to develop an entire software product: it must have meant a major investment of time and energy, so kudos to them.

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