Seven brands to become one

TKH Group has announced the acquisition of Lakesight Technologies Holding, which consists of Tattile, Mikrotron, and Chromasens. With the acquisition, TKH Group now puts itself into a position of power, with seven machine vision companies under one roof.

Who benefits from Allied Vision, NET, LMI, and Lakesight (Chromasens, Mikrotron, Tattile) being in one group?

Dr.-Ing. Ronald Müller, CEO, Vision Markets UG (h.b.)

After acquiring Allied Vision (Ahrensburg, Germany, https://www.alliedvision.com), New Electronic Technology (NET; Finning, Germany, https://net-gmbh.com), and LMI Technologies (Burnaby, BC, Canada,https://lmi3d.com) the TKH Group will acquire Lakesight Technologies Holding (Unterschleißheim, Germany, https://www.lakesighttechnologies.com/) to become one of the biggest players in the market. Lakesight Technologies is an umbrella for Tattile (Mairano, Italy, https://www.tattile.com/), Mikrotron (Unterschleißheim, Germany, https://mikrotron.de/), and Chromasens (Constance, Germany, https://www.chromasens.de/en), so this move results in the following comprehensive product portfolio:

  • Allied Vision's embedded visioncameras
  • Standard machine vision cameras from Allied Vision andTattile
  • High-speed cameras and video recording PCs fromMikrotron
  • Chromasens' standard line scan, color line scan, multispectral line scancameras
  • 3D line scan systems fromChromasens
  • LMI's 3D scanners andcameras
  • Tattile's road traffic cameras with integrated license plate recognition (ALPR, ANPR)
  • Allied Vision's SWIRcameras
  • Chromasens' high-power linelights
  • Custom solutions based on technologies and products of membercompanies

It also opens interesting opportunities for the group members as well as for OEM customers. Global players, such as OEMs in automotive, consumer electronics, aerospace or railway, need a variety of technologies and products to address today's challenges.

As Alexander van der Lof, CEO of TKH states in the press release, TKH and its group members will now be able to offer a comprehensive range of machine vision and imaging technologies and product offerings.

Within the group members, Allied Vision has the sales network—with resources—and distributors around the globe, where others operate with single, distributed employees covering North America and Asia. As Peter Tix, CEO of Lakesight, states in the press release, it could be interesting to leverage the existing sales organizations within the TKH Group globally to cater to customers even better.

There is an image sensor and an FPGA in almost every TKH device. Each of these has firmware, a data and control interface, a driver, and a software development kit. However, unifying hardware, firmware or software will likely require a significant effort in order to identify sufficient synergies and then develop a completely new line of products.

As long as it comes to purchase volumes, synergies might be easy to leverage. Sensor OEMs, just as one example, are willing to re-negotiate prices if volumes go up and the logistics are simplified, i.e. larger lot sizes at the same time.

Overall, the brands given above are rather well-established in the global machine vision market. It would be extremely hard to unify the listed range of product offerings under one brand. Almost every offering has different target customers with different needs. Building a brand and a brand promise that addresses all sufficiently well is feasible, but a Herculean task.

As machine vision is a key technology, big OEMs want to collaborate with reliable, financially-stable suppliers. Having a billion-Euro enterprise in the backend is a plus for companies with a seven-to-eight-digit annual turnover. Beyond that, OEMs expect expertise in a high bandwidth of technologies.

Less than a year ago, Ambienta installed a CEO of the Lakesight Group for the first time. In this period, Lakesight started to become a consortium which can address the needs of global players, from a technological and commercial standpoint. TKH’s integration strategy has been rather soft, so far. Allied Vision, NET and LMI widely kept operating independently after their acquisition. At the same time and more than ever, the machine vision supplier market is facing ubiquitous commoditization, especially when it comes to cameras.

It is one of our credos in our product management consulting assignments that a higher level of integration, i.e. getting closer to specialized solutions for high potential market niches, is one of the most promising paths to success.
The TKH Group and its member companies shall be looking to a bright future if they follow the Lakesight model and manage an integration towards the best of both worlds: Small entities with a clear brand positioning and flexibility to act upon customer needs, market trends, and technological advancements on the one hand and on the other hand, a powerful consortium which is able to address the needs of global players and comes up with highly-advanced solutions to kicking machine vision to an unprecedented level.

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