Cognex Corporation: Revolutionizing Industrial Automation With Machine Vision
The leading supplier of machine vision systems around the world, Cognex has an inspiring story to tell. The brainchild of a visionary in the field— Dr. Robert J. Shillman, Cognex now commands the largest market share in the machine vision market and enjoys strong global presence in the U.S, Asia, Europe, and Latin America. Having shipped more than one million vision-based products, Cognex has scored earnings over $4 billion in cumulative revenue, since its founding, beating its own revenue guidance. Credibly, driving a major chunk of Cognex’s total revenue are big shots like Apple, Siemens, ABB, and Ford, among the rest.
Cognex was founded to deliver a powerful software which could locate patterns in gray scale images very quickly and accurately, aimed at accomplishing a new high in speed, efficiency and response rates in manufacturing processes. The idea behind Shillman’s 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.
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.
From capturing images of moving commodities to analyzing them in 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.
The Idea Behind Shillman’s Vision System Had Been To Design, Develop, And Manufacture A Broad Spectrum Of Products That Can Leverage Sophisticated Machine Vision Technology
Vision-based idea meters from Cognex can read just about everything on almost any surface: bar codes, 2D codes, and printed text.
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. With this, Cognex can broaden the scope of applications that can be addressed at a world-class level with Cognex vision,” states Robert J. Willett, President and CEO, Cognex.
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.
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 conveyer, or smart phone 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.
“In addition to the technology moving forward, the market for machine vision is expanding. Machine vision is now widely accepted on the factory floor, and is 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 2017 and looks forward to yet another strong quarter.