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Hikvision cameras on display at Photonex

Julian Parfitt, Scorpion Vision’s sales director, gave a rundown of Hikvision’s machine vision product line at Photonex on 12 October. Scorpion Vision has been appointed UK and Ireland distributor of the Chinese camera maker’s industrial vision products.

Hikvision caused a stir at last year’s Vision show in Stuttgart where it exhibited for the first time. The firm, which was established in 2001, is now the world’s number one supplier of CCTV cameras, and has recently turned its attention to the machine vision market.

Parfitt explained at Photonex, the annual UK photonics show held in Coventry, that Hikvision is Sony’s number one sensor customer, and that because of this position and the economies of scale involved, it means the company is able to offer machine vision cameras at very competitive prices. The same economies of scale exist in terms of lenses, because it buys such large volumes of lenses for its CCTV cameras.

Hikvision's area scan cameras start from £154, while its board-level cameras cost from £99.

Hikvision now has 9,000 engineers working for it out of a total of 20,000 employees; it has 1,300 patents. The firm has five R&D centres in China, one in Montreal and one in Silicon Valley.

The cameras themselves, Parfitt said, were a complete range of products, including a smart camera with a Movidius VPU platform for parallel high-speed image processing. Resolutions range from 0.3 megapixels to 71 megapixels, and product line uses sensors from Sony, On Semi, and Sharp.

Parfitt also noted that the company has a 24/7 customer service team, and that the lead time for camera delivery is only two weeks.

China remains a strong market for European machine vision companies to sell into, because of the growing amount of factory automation in the country. The entry by the world’s number one CCTV camera maker into the machine vision market presents sizable competition to more established industrial camera providers.

Hikvision will be releasing a 12 megapixel GigE camera in January 2018, using Sony IMX226 sensor, offering 1.85µm pixel size with 7fps. A USB 3.0 version will be available in Q1 2018 and a 10GigE version could be available sooner in Q4 2017.

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