Thursday, February 10, 2011

Cognex publish full year 2010 results

It's hard to know what to say about the results Cognex just reported for 2010. We knew they'd seen a huge turnaround from the dark days of 2008-9 but how many people expected record sales and profit?

As I'm sure many did, I read through the press release looking for details about what they are doing so well, but I struggled to pick up anything significant. Factory Automation is doing well, so we are told, as is Surface Inspection. The most tantalizing hints however seemed to relate to code readers – the Dataman family – and software, by which I presume is meant VisionPro.

There seems to be an implication that Cognex have decided their future lies with vision sensors and reading Datamatrix codes, rather than the higher-end industrial inspection tasks, and that makes sense. I'm sure engineering a robust vision sensor is no easier than developing clever new image processing algorithms, but the market is probably much bigger. In other words, I think I'm detecting a shift in emphasis away from clever engineering and towards marketing and volume.

Who can blame them, if that's where the money is?

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