Only someone with Shillman’s meticulous attention to detail could have perceived this personification of quality for he had instilled the equivalent magnitude of diligence within his innovative vision system. Analogous to the level of precision the Japanese had for their work, Shillman’s brainchild, a powerful software could locate patterns in grayscale images very quickly and accurately, aimed at accomplishing a new high in speed, efficiency and response rates in manufacturing processes. The idea behind his vision system had been to design, develop, and manufacture a broad spectrum of products that can leverage sophisticated machine vision technology that allowed them to “see.” Evidently, the nomenclature of his venture—Cognex derived from ‘Cognition Experts’ explains it all.
"We are the leader in terms of systems shipped, cumulative revenue, and range of machine vision products"
The resolution was to convince the already-technologically-sophisticated Japanese equipment companies serving the large semiconductor and electronics capital equipment space in Tokyo with his innovative vision system. In next to no time, the idea worked in the demanding Japanese market, marking a pivotal decision in the history of Cognex. Since then, success in Cognex had taken just one course, which is upward, churning out vision systems with capabilities that stick out a mile. Credibly, driving a major chunk of Cognex’s total revenue are big shots like Apple, Siemens, ABB, and Ford, among rest.
Nestled in Natick, Massachusetts— the company is a dwelling for vision software and sensors, ID readers, vision systems, and overtly intelligent employees called “Cognoids.” In hindsight, what once took off as developing standard machine vision hardware and software products for OEMs have evolved into an integral aspect of the manufacturing, semiconductor, and electronics capital equipment industry. Bringing thirty years of hands-on experience to the table, team Cognex has positioned itself as the leader or rather “machine vision experts,” decoding the most challenging vision applications with its state-of-the-art technology.
The market for machine vision is expanding on the factory floor, and flourishing in new markets such as transportation, building automation, and security
Products That Can ‘See’
From capturing images of moving commodities to analyzing them in a real-time fashion and help shop floor managers reach conclusions for boosting brand quality, efficiency, productivity, and regulatory compliance, Cognex’s portfolio addresses it all. These products assist machines, such as factory automation equipment, vehicles, and robots in sharing information instantly and transmitting the conclusions to other equipment and systems; alleviating the hassles of decision-making in production processes. Cognex vision sensors, vision systems, 3D laser profilers, OEM vision and ID systems, image engines, and Cognex Vision Library work in tandem to minimize defects, speed-up production and reduce costs across automotive, mobile devices, medical devices, consumer products, pharmaceutical, electronics, food and beverage, and semiconductor manufacturing. Vision-based idea meters from Cognex can read just about everything on almost any surface: barcodes, 2D codes, and printed text.
From product inspection standpoint, and, the firm’s machine vision provisions multifaceted ‘eyes’ for guiding automation and identifying diverse manufactured parts and equipment. From quality checking to assembly inspection to robot guidance, Cognex ensures that the products are assembled correctly, defect-free, and meet the most exact specifications— right down to the smallest detail. These capabilities also help in reducing waste by detecting process errors early in the manufacturing procedures in factories, warehouses, and distribution centers. Cognex vision is capable of curbing down end-product rejects and returns, and thus conserves resources and saves energy.
The Envelope of Superior Accuracy
Augmenting its foothold in Artificial Intelligence (AI), Cognex has recently added the “deep learning” algorithmic approach from ViDi—an AI startup. This acquisition promises to enhance image analysis in applications for easier prediction of acceptable image variations and defects. “The ViDi team is at the forefront of applying deep learning techniques to the real-world challenges of industrial machine vision.
The firm’s solutions cover four major categories of machine vision applications: guidance, identification, gauging and inspection, and components like lighting, lenses, image processing, vision processing, and communications, among others. Cognex In-Sight 2D machine vision systems have unprecedented capability to inspect, identify and guide parts. With a wide range of models, including line scan and color systems, Cognex In-Sight 2D machine vision systems have been designed to meet diverse performance and budget specifications. Moreover, Cognex’ robust 3D machine vision tools, capable of measuring single profiles or scanning entire surfaces in 3D, have set a bar for manufacturers across varied industries excelling beyond the capabilities of 2D machine vision technology.
In addition to this, Cognex provisions PC-based software development environments: Cognex Vision Library and VisionPro. These PC-based software tools offer diverse functionalities for geometric object location, inspection, identification and measurement for low-level filters, sophisticated wafer and die alignment and more.
While considering a machine-vision system, the chief predicaments are around capital costs, technical know-how in machine-vision systems, and the need for lighting expertise. The good news is that Cognex meets all these challenges head-on through its cost-effective range of resources for machine-vision and lighting setups; eliminating the deep-pocket pinch. Whether reading oil-tainted DPM codes on automotive equipment, checking the fill-levels of soda bottles placed on a conveyor, or smartphone touch screen placement to micron-level accuracy, Cognex’s machine vision technology is poised to execute diverse production processes keeping in mind every minute detail. Needless to say, Cognex vision’s speed, accuracy, and repeatability are second to none.
A Perfect ‘Vision’ for the Future
If there ever comes a day where machines will match up to human capabilities, machine vision will have exulted for being the prelude. From a purely practical standpoint, the hunks of metal and wire can perform way better than humans in a typical manufacturing setting. These machines can trot out their power of vision with a single camera capable of separating out 256 different shades of gray. Whereas, the human’s pair of eyes? Just about 30!
“In addition to the technology moving forward, the market for machine vision is expanding on the factory floor, and flourishing in new markets such as transportation, building automation, and security. It’s a very exciting time for machine vision, with lots of new opportunities opening up as the technology gets less expensive, smaller, and easier to use,” says Shillman with all the perseverance that has come in handy over these years. With power-packed earnings in the fourth quarter, Cognex is well-positioned for 2018 and looks forward to yet another strong quarter.