Cognex sees vision systems in wider applications

Natick, MA—Popularity of low-end vision sensors is one of the reasons for overall growth in application of vision technologies, reported several Cognex representatives in a recent interview with Control Engineering.


Natick, MA— Popularity of low-end vision sensors is one of the reasons for overall growth in application of vision technologies, reported several Cognex representatives in a recent interview with Control Engineering .

At Cognex's offices here, George F. Blackwell, director of product marketing, and Carl W. Gerst III, product marketing manager, said that, as people realize the benefits of low-end vision sensors, they're likely to notice other applications where vision makes sense. With more processing power and an easier software/setup learning curve, it's easier than ever to apply the technology. "Within a half day, customers can do what took our experts a day or two, just a few years ago," explains Mr. Gerst. "In-Sight, for instance, is designed for factory vision applications and includes all of the vision tools, I/O, and communications required for the end-user to integrate the system." With higher-end systems, applications engineers are required to ensure the technologies are properly applied.

Mr. Blackwell says, "Some customers are on their second or third generation of the technology. Most upgrades involve adding more inspections or accommodating higher line speeds with higher-performance vision engines." In cases where vision platforms have changed, Mr. Blackwell says, support is available to translate older application programs.

Customers learn about their processes while using machine vision, says Mr. Gerst. "We're working with customers who use the products and document benefits and often buy more. A lot of times we can make someone a hero by solving a major problem."

System integrators have really warmed up to using the In-Sight vision sensor, they note. Integrators see a real advantage in solving easier application problem with In-Sight, while retaining the Cognex PC-based systems for more complex projects. Overall, In-Sight orders have grown 40% in 2002. The line will have been out three years in March 2003, and it has been the most successful Cognex product launch ever, they report, with a "large percentage" of new customers originating from the In-Sight product line.

Performance increases come from hardware and software developments. New hardware platforms in 2002 accounted for large speed increases in the product line. Developments continue on the core software, such as new algorithms for recognition, which have increased speed about 15% over the previous version.

Customers needs drive current and future product developments. These include the need for less maintenance and adjustment, more intelligence, intuitiveness in set-up and use, robustness, reliability, lower cost over the lifecycle, as well as communications to I/O and PLCs. Mr. Gerst adds, "The core technology has to work reliably. If it doesn't, you don't get the next sale."

Today, Cognex has a team of direct sales and application engineers doing evaluations and demos. Mr. Blackwell, says, "Quality isn't just at the end of the line anymore, but throughout the process. A vision system is always alert, always watching and without subjectivity, which is especially important for applications with liability, such as automotive, aerospace, and pharmaceuticals. Also, with greater business connections to the plant floor, there's more need for tracking work in process, general productivity, and higher line speeds. In many applications, you just cannot have a manual inspection process."

For more on vision solutions, see Cognex at For more about vision, see August 2002 cover story at .

Also, watch for the April 2003 isssue of Control Engineering for a

Control Engineering Daily News Desk
Mark T. Hoske, editor-in-chief

No comments
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by...
The System Integrator Giants program lists the top 100 system integrators among companies listed in CFE Media's Global System Integrator Database.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
Learn how to increase device reliability in harsh environments and decrease unplanned system downtime.
This eGuide contains a series of articles and videos that considers theoretical and practical; immediate needs and a look into the future.
Learn how to create value with re-use; gain productivity with lean automation and connectivity, and optimize panel design and construction.
Machine design tips: Pneumatic or electric; Software upgrades; Ethernet advantages; Additive manufacturing; Engineering Leaders; Product exclusives: PLC, HMI, IO
Industrial wireless cyber security: More complex than black and white; IIoT at the I/O level; Process modeling; Cyber security research
Robotic advances: Software, form factors; System-based ROI; Embedded control; MES and information integration; SCADA and cyber security; Position sensor; Controller, I/O module
Learn how Industry 4.0 adds supply chain efficiency, optimizes pricing, improves quality, and more.

Find and connect with the most suitable service provider for your unique application. Start searching the Global System Integrator Database Now!

Drilling for Big Data: Managing the flow of information; Big data drilldown series: Challenge and opportunity; OT to IT: Creating a circle of improvement; Industry loses best workers, again
Pipeline vulnerabilities? Securing hydrocarbon transit; Predictive analytics hit the mainstream; Dirty pipelines decrease flow, production—pig your line; Ensuring pipeline physical and cyber security
Cyber security attack: The threat is real; Hacking O&G control systems: Understanding the cyber risk; The active cyber defense cycle