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Gerard White

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Vice president, ISVI

How did you come to be part of the machine vision industry?

I joined the machine vision industry in 1995 with a technical position at a camera manufacturer. Many years of in-depth learning about cameras and the applications in which they are used laid the foundation for advancement into sales, channel management and business development with several camera manufacturers. My current position as VP of ISVI has allowed me to see yet another facet of our industry with its focus on high-speed, high-resolution cameras and their highly interesting application areas. Since my very first day in the machine vision industry I have never doubted my career choice and I am proud to be a part of this dynamic industry.

How do you convince customers that they need machine vision?

Since we manufacture high-end cameras our customer base is already very adept at implementing machine vision and is looking to push the envelope of imaging possibilities with the types of cameras we produce. Manufacturing customers selling their goods to the global marketplace have long known that machine vision is the only way for them to remain competitive. The real challenge is getting them to invest in the latest technology available in order to keep up with market pressures and to increase profits through higher throughput and a higher level of defect detection.

What role does Europe have in the development of machine vision?

It goes without saying that Europe has been and continues to be a vanguard when it comes to machine vision technology advancements and breakthroughs. I believe Europeans tend to be less adverse to risk-taking in this field and that, as a whole, the European engineering powerhouse will continue to churn out new trends and ideas into the future. However, the development of machine vision is also taking place in North America and in Asia at the same time. Great things are happening everywhere and the cooperation of the AIA, EMVA, JIIA and other machine vision organisations is imperative to the advancement of machine vision into all possible application areas on a global basis.

What do you see as the major growth sectors?

The traditional areas of semiconductor and electronics inspection will continue to grow, but so will ITS, biomedical and high-end surveillance and biometrics. Due to this year’s falling oil prices, manufacturers may see the opportunity to invest in factory capacity and modernisation improvements which have been delayed for some years. So a wave of increased factory automation may be the result. Additionally, the strong US dollar will continue to fuel the growth of machine vision in general in North America, having also a positive impact on sales in EMEA and APAC as well.

What are the most important technological challenges facing the industry?

One of the main challenges we are facing as a camera manufacturer is the question of bandwidth. How do we get the data volume that can be produced by modern high-speed, high-resolution cameras or multiple cameras to the processing core in real time and how can we process that data in a reasonable time when we get it there – and all this within a limited budget. As more high-end colour applications become commonplace in the fast-paced electronics manufacturing sector, the development of high-throughput frame grabber to PC interfaces will be required. Colour, resolution and frame rate as factors limiting production speed, although a fact of life now, should not remain so.

What will be the most significant commercial change in the industry during the years ahead?

The expectations of machine vision customers change very rapidly. It will be those companies who are able to adapt quickly and meet those expectations with a high level of ROI on their products that will remain successful in the global machine vision marketplace. That includes manufacturers of individual components as well as those providing turnkey solutions. As consumers continue to expect more for less, the trickle-down effect will play a role in both technological advancement and economic viability of the components used to ensure the quality of their products.

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