To provide our readers with much information onhow to obtain the right technology for their application as possible, we are profiling major machine vision and image processing distributors from across the globe.
In this article, Mark Ermatinger Vice President of Industrial Control, discusses3D imaging, the machine vision market, and areas of potential growth in the market.
Company name:Industrial Control
Headquarters: Zeeland, MI, USA
Year founded: 1975
Regions served: West Michigan
Products carried:2D and 3D vision products, vision conveyor and bowl feeder systems, 2D and 3D gauging systems, Thermocheck 3D thermo-formed cup inspection, and 3D CAD to vision image gauging.
Companies carried:Banner, Turck, Datalogic, LMI Technologies, Bluewrist, ViDi, Microscan, IAI, Wago.
How have market changes and customer demands changed the way that you’ve approached business?
Customers are asking for complete vision integration, hardware, and mechanical systems. With a highly technical staff, well versed in machine vision and mechanical engineering, we are able to provide value to our customers as they demand more pre-engineered solutions.
In what areas do you see the most growth?
Turnkey vision solutions. Many of these projects are too small for machine builders and too complex for the end user. We bridge the gap between the mechanical equipment and vision equipment to provide a relatively simple drop in and go system. Another area of growth is tackling surface defects with machine vision. We acquired a new vendor called ViDi Systems, which allows us to solve very difficult anomaly detection applications that we would walk away from in the past. This opens up a whole new market of customers that are currently forced to use manual inspection because of the challenging defects.
What is your take on the current state of the machine vision market?
Currently in Michigan, machine vision sales are strong and indicate increased demand when coupled with robots, motion, and extra CAD to image software
Distribution is your core business, but you recently developed the“Thermochecker” 3D vision solution. What other potential solutions you may develop in the future?
Our company is aggressively seeking vertical industry solutions which we call VP (Vertical Products). These VP solutions typically solve an industry problem. Currently we are working on a tool-less 3D scanner to spot check injection molded parts on the factory floor to eliminate expensive tooling and we are gauging parts better with less time.
Is there a particular trend or product in the next few years that you see as “the next big thing?”
CAD to image gauging. The ability to 3D scan any part and overlay onto a pre-existing 3D CAD drawing to check for defects and gauge certain areas is going to simplify inspection similar to progression of the 3D printers. Coupled with data collection, manufacturers are going to track more real data instead of just discrete go-no-go.
What camera type do you think will be most popular in two years and why?
USB3 will infiltrate many of the big vision companies such as Datalogic, Cognex, and Keyence instead of smart cameras. USB3 cameras are made by so many vendors, it will be a race to build drivers more than spend a lot of money on developing new smart cameras.
You recently held the inaugural Advanced Manufacturing Expo in Grand Rapids Michigan. Can you tell us more about this?
Our goal in 2015 was to bring a Chicago style automation show to West Michigan. Along with automation, we brought local schools, universities, and other state organization together all with the intent to grow manufacturing. With over 200 companies attending this year and a 99.7% approval rate, we decided to nearly double the expo from 70 exhibitors to 120 along with adding a skilled trade job fair of 70 additional exhibitors. In addition as a part of 2016 AME we will be sponsoring fundraisers for local STEM educational programs.
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