Integro Technologies, Salisbury, N.C.
2017 System Integrator of the Year
Mid-Sized System Integrator Category ($8-15 million system integration annual revenue)
2016 System Integrator Giants Rank: 53
Shawn Campion, president and CEO of Integro Technologies, and company founder and CFO Tom Campion talk about how Integro Technologies continues its growth pattern and how that reflects on the strength of the system integration market as a whole.
CFE Media: Congratulations on receiving the 2017 System Integrator of the Year award. What does this award mean to you and your organization?
Tom Campion: This award confirms that our peers have recognized our team’s hard work and dedication to solving the most demanding vision applications. Our team takes on vision applications in diverse industries including aerospace, agriculture, automotive, food and beverage, electronics, pharmaceutical, medical devices, textiles, and nuclear. The pride our team members take in meeting challenging customer requirements is truly awe-inspiring and makes every day at work exciting.
CFE Media: Right now, the system integration business continues to grow in importance to manufacturers looking to upgrade their plant operation. Assess the state of the system integration industry as a whole.
Tom Campion: Integro continues to experience strong growth across the breadth of industries we serve as they introduce new manufacturing techniques, processes, and products to their facilities. Our ability to locate, detect, measure, and quantify the defects our customers experience is a key to our continued success as manufacturing evolves. Our customers leverage our services and expertise to meet those ever-changing needs.
Shawn Campion: The state of system integration is strong. Engineers at manufacturing facilities are pulled in so many directions and have diverse sets of daily responsibilities. Lean manufacturing further compounds their responsibilities with minimized support and maintenance staff to perform additional engineering tasks.
Their increased time constraints hinder their capability to focus on development projects and commit the time required to execute the project from beginning to end. This is why system integration will continue to grow in importance for manufacturing facilities to supplement their existing engineering teams to execute value-add mission critical work on a production line.
CFE Media: What are some of the key markets you are focused on? What are some of the specific solutions your customers are looking to implement today?
Tom Campion: Integro works across the full spectrum of industries. The choice not to focus on a given industry allows us to leverage prior experience to solve machine vision applications for a variety of customers and processes. Without a doubt, the introduction of 3-D imaging to our toolbox over the past 3 to 4 years has increased demand for new solutions. Integro can now solve problems that could not previously be detected within customer processes or products at production speeds.
The 3-D imaging market is still relatively new and evolving rapidly; new hardware is constantly being introduced with faster acquisition speeds and stronger algorithms that we can enhance using the experience and knowledge we have developed through our years of experience generating integrated 2-D machine vision solutions.
CFE Media: The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is an important strategy for manufacturers. What are your customers asking you about IIoT, and how are you reaching out to them with information?
Shawn Campion: For us as a vision system integrator, the majority of the questions related to IIoT are in regards to security, bandwidth, and storage capacity. Security questions are related to offsite plant exposure associated with remote access utilizing any software application. Bandwidth and storage capacity are related to existing network architectures.
The majority of our deployed vision systems utilize 1GigE speed, and the newest generation will be deployed with 10GigE. We attempt to have open conversations with their IT and manufacturing teams to understand the need versus the desire and provide solutions that can be upgraded in the future as IIoT becomes more widely accepted.
CFE Media: How quickly do you see IIoT being adopted in manufacturing? How quickly should it be adopted?
Tom Campion: The implementation of the lloT practices for different process or production steps will continue to enhance quality control and supply chain traceability regardless of industry. The mining and sharing of the vast amounts of valuable data our systems generate hold great potential for the customers that can efficiently leverage the data to develop competitive advantages over their rivals.
Shawn Campion: Access to data is wonderful. However, collecting the wrong data points, poor data groupings, lack of process knowledge by those processing the data (misinterpretation), can lead to improper projections and/or decisions that can be extremely detrimental to an organization. As IIoT is more widely adopted and implemented within manufacturing facilities, industrial engineering and statistical analysis will grow significantly in importance. Statisticians will become critical assets to a manufacturer’s engineering department and the entire business unit.
CFE Media: How can system integrators help with IIoT adoption?
Tom Campion: Integrators like Integro can utilize the lessons we learn from the diverse industries we serve to add value to our customer base. Our team members cross-pollinate across the industries we serve. This simply means that a portion of a technique we see used in one industry can often be implemented in a different industry to achieve success for the customer. This range of unique experiences makes system integrators natural leaders in the adoption of lloT best practices.
CFE Media: Manufacturing is evolving from a process-driven occupation to a data- and analytics-driven business. How have your training and implementation strategies changed in response to this new generation of plant equipment?
Shawn Campion: I believe process-driven manufacturing and analytics are directly tied together within the manufacturing space. Our training and our approach have not changed due to being a data-centric company since our inception.
The universities are producing a large number of data scientists that will never set foot in a factory. But, if provided the proper data sets, they can make significant contributions and insights regarding a process or business unit.
The manufacturing process must still be understood and modified (mechatronics) to incorporate the insights and the potential resulting benefit from the data science. I use the words "potential benefit," due to portions of a manufacturing process being based on wisdom and complete understanding of material behaviors, which will not be represented in raw data or statistic. This is where I believe the engineering schools need to incorporate data science into the master of industrial engineering programs as the next evolution in this profession.
CFE Media: As we face 2017, what’s your overall outlook for manufacturing?
Shawn Campion: Manufacturing will continue to strengthen and grow in 2017. A portion of the growth will come from reshoring efforts in the major industrialized nations, to reduce shipping costs, access to higher skilled labor, and improve quality.
The majority of the growth and increased manufacturing output will be generated by continued investment in automation and quality control systems. The companies looking to compete and survive in the next decade will invest heavily [in] the remainder of this decade to compete and generate high quality products for less. In the United States, regional minimum wage legislation will also hasten the drive by manufacturers to automate to combat higher hourly labor rates versus equal productivity.
Learn more about the other 2017 System Integrators of the Year linked below.