Thursday, January 24, 2013

Hits and misses from the Automate Show

From an attendees point of view, this was a good show. Lots of interesting new products, and interesting, knowledgeable people on the stands to talk to. How was it for the exhibitors? My impression was that turnout was good, and if attire can be equated with place on the organizational totem pole, there were a good few “decision makers’ around. (Or perhaps they were just German and Korean camera-makers checking out each other’s offerings.)

But if you weren’t there you might want to know what’s hot and what’s not, so here’s my analysis.

Hit: two armed robots, especially “Baxter” from rethink robotics. Operating without a safety cage, this robot promises affordable factory automation. I can see it being used in environments that are unpleasant for humans, like unloading from the end of a furnace, for example.

Hit: the new Gocator 3000 from LMI. Using projected patterns of structured light, this offers 3D scanning with no need for relative part-camera motion.

Hit: low cost Xenon-RUBY lenses from Schneider. If Schneider can maintain their optical quality while meeting a Tamron-esque price point, this could be a winner.

Miss: the hike from parking lot to show hall. I clocked this at almost 30 minutes, including a stop at the Coat Check stand. That’s quite a work out, and a waste of my time.

Miss: the Chicago weather. Single digit Fahrenheit numbers are no fun for anyone. Couldn’t this show be held in Springtime?

Miss: Cognex. Nowhere to be seen in the Automate hall, I spotted them lurking at the back of the ProMat material handling show. Makes them look like that kid at school who didn’t want to play with his peers.

Overall, this was a good show, worth the trek and the weather. I shall return.

No comments: