Can you provide one example of a relatively new technology that you are utilizing?
MoviMED has been developing high-speed, high-resolution 3D imaging systems for several years. The latest 3D cameras we provide utilize laser triangulation to scan 3D shapes at insane speeds. The fastest camera is capable of scanning objects at 104 million 3D points per second. The latest feature enhancements on these cameras allow us to scan objects most other 3D cameras are not capable of.
What other technologies and components do you use in your applications?
MoviMED is really not your typical machine vision integrator. We are a hybrid company – a mix between an integrator, distributor, and OEM product design house. We are capable of custom designing a camera if the job requires it. We use high-speed, field programmable logic array (FPGA) chips to perform some of the more demanding image processing or optical measurement tasks. We also go beyond the typical camera, lens and light setup. We utilize any photon-based detector that suits the application, for instance photon multiplier tubes, photo and laser diodes, etc., and combine these with custom opto-mechanical systems including motion control.
In what areas do you see the most growth?
There seems to be a lot of activity in the 3D industrial imaging space these days. It appears that the 2D machine vision market has matured to a point were standard 2D cameras have become somewhat of a commodity. A handful of CCD and CMOS detector manufacturers provide the same detectors to several camera manufacturers. This leaves very little differentiators besides price in the industrial machine vision market. We noticed that more and more sensor providers are now touting their new 3D sensors. Besides the industrial machine vision market, there is also an uptake in non-industrial imaging.
What are users demanding in terms of the design of your systems?
We are sometimes suffering what we call the “Best Buy” or “CSI – Crime Scene Investigation” syndrome. What I mean by that is that customers sometimes approach us with feature and price expectations set by cameras available at Best buy (e.g. an 18Mpixel model for $800) or otherwise futuristic feature requests.
“Why can’t you design a black box that automatically finds any defects on 40 different product variations? We often start the engagement with our customers educating them on what it really takes and which features are attainable given their finite budget. We look at the opportunity and try to arrive at a solid business case quickly for the customer. We are in business to save our customers money and help them increase quality. If we can’t make that case we gracefully turn down that opportunity.
What do you see as the next big thing? In other words, how do you envision the future of imaging in the industries you serve?
I believe that the next big thing in imaging will not have to do so much with the imaging technology but rather the way we treat the data. Traditionally, imaging systems measure feature sizes or check for absence and presence. The "consumer" of the data is usually a machine operator or a quality manager. I believe that we will see soon a much more holistic approach to how and what we do with the data collected.
There is an ever increasing need for real-time monitoring of manufacturing processes. I predict that data will become an integral part to companies ERP (Enterprise resource planning) systems and thus enabling company management to analyze production data in real-time. There are already buzz words circulating throughout the technology world, such as "The Internet of Things," "Industry 4.0," "Big Analog Data™," "Smart Factory," and others. All of this is driven by the need to produce with the utmost efficiency and accuracy. "Just in time" is no longer good enough. Tomorrow it will be "Just in real-time."
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