How did you come to be part of the imaging/machine vision industry?
As a company, Adimec began life under a different company name, and concentrated on the design of vision solutions for measurement of ‘landing and convergence’ of colour CRT tubes. Philips in the Netherlands had a large research facility that developed in-line inspection tools. This application required high-quality cameras without micro lenses and, therefore, we decided to develop our own cameras based on FT sensors from Philips, now Dalsa, in Eindhoven.
How do you convince customers that they need machine vision?
Our company has been building its camera portfolio around application knowledge and customer-specific designs. Customers have always been convinced about their need for machine vision, but they were looking for parties that could offer them reliable and performing solutions.
What role does Europe have in the development of machine vision?
The early applications of machine vision in Europe – which has so many diverging industries – were for high-end markets requiring reproducible measurements. Users also wanted to reduce labour costs in volume production. This still accounts for a variety of applications both in high-end and in more commodity applications.
Europe will remain a driving force due to its level of experience that will be exploited in more applications worldwide.
What do you see as the major growth sectors?
Semiconductor and advanced optical inspection are two important growth sectors with requirements for throughput, quality and cost control that will drive technology advancements and account for attractive margins.
Applications related to these, such as worldwide logistics, cosmetic product inspections and safety and security, will also grow. These substantial and new applications will require solutions with a short time to market. Solutions for standard ‘problems’ will be commodities.
What do you see as the most important technological challenges facing the industry?
Our industry will have to develop an attitude of co-creation with its customer base due to the continued complexity of inspection requirements. For this, new building blocks will be required that can be applied fast and with open architecture, both in terms of hardware and IP-firmware, to enable customer specific solutions with a short time to market.
What do you see as being the most significant commercial change in the industry during the years ahead?
Vision companies have to develop an attitude of listening to its customers and jointly develop their portfolio accordingly. With a growing customer base, this will be a challenging experience for a very technically-oriented industry.