Monday, April 23, 2012

The future of machine vision companies?

An interesting article by Winn Hardin appeared recently on the AIA website, (and I don’t mean to imply that Winn’s other articles are not interesting.) Under the heading of “Acceptance, Convergence, Certification Drive Vision Guided Robotics (VGR)” (April 17th, 2012,) Winn discusses growth in the vision Guided Robotics world.

Clearly, VGR requires close integration of robots with machine vision. Some robot companies already offer their own vision products, (although I suspect they may be repackaged variants of some of the leading vision suites,) while others partner with selected machine vision companies. Winn wonders how this trend will evolve, and suggests that these partnerships will lead to merged businesses.

I see a great deal of logic in what he says. Robotics and machine vision are both highly software-dependent, and I suspect there are savings to be had by combining the development and support efforts. From a buyer’s perspective, it means more single sourcing and less finger pointing when things go wrong, sorry IF things go wrong.

So who will buy whom, and what will the resulting hybrid be called? Won’t that make for some interesting after-hours discussions at The Vision Show?


Anonymous said...

Many robot companies have vision products to offer. Some even do own development (especially in Japan).

On the otherhand, looks like Adept transferred HexSight product to LMI and stopped marketing it by themselves.

Markus Tarin said...

I couldn't agree more. We are a machine vision integrator and have always used some form of motion control with pretty much all of our turnkey systems. Motion control including robotics are very complimentary to most inspection tasks. This is especially true for line scan or 3D vision applications. We have become a robot integrator out of necessity and although robot companies offer their own prepackaged vision systems, we often use our own creations to tackle more sophisticated requirements.