Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Renewed R&D effort at Dalsa?

Now that camera-maker Dalsa is part of Teledyne it’s hard to get a clear view of what’s happening there, but the recently published Q2 2013 results and associated conference call offered a few clues. (www.seekingalpha.com is a great resource if you’re interested in conference call transcripts.)

The results showed that while revenues in the Digital Imaging group were off 6% in the second quarter income was up 5.3%. That says to me there’s been some cost-cutting going on, and indeed, as much was admitted during the conference call. It was however also mentioned that industrial machine vision sales were up slightly so the shortfall is elsewhere.

Also in the conference call was some discussion of Teledyne’s acquisition of a company called Axiom IC. Axiom designs CMOS chips, and I’d like to share with you a couple of quotes from the conference call.

First off, CEO Robert Mehrabian said, “This quarter, we made a small but important acquisition for Teledyne DALSA. We acquired Axiom IC, a designer of high-performance CMOS mixed signal integrated circuits. The technologies at Axiom will help us continue developing highly differentiated CMOS imaging sensors and cameras for our machine vision market.”

Then, answering a question about the integration of Axiom, he commented, “…right now, our focus is to get our CMOS imaging development programs improved.”

What can we take away from this?

First, it says to me that Teledyne is serious about investing in the Dalsa camera business. And second, perhaps Teledyne’s management thought Dalsa’s R&D effort needed a bit of a kick in the pants.

And the implications for machine vision cameras?

I think Teledyne and Dalsa are seeing opportunities for differentiated, and presumably higher performance imaging sensors. My guess is that will mean higher frame rates, lower noise levels, and perhaps more development of TDI technology. All this has to be good for us end-users, (and perhaps for Basler too, since there might be less overlap with their business.) The only downside is that these new products will likely command premium prices, but then you get what you pay for.

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