At Automate 2017, I had the pleasure of meeting with Scott Summerville, President of Microscan. During our conversation on the show floor, we discussed a number of topics, including the trend of miniaturizing imaging products for both machine vision and automatic identification (auto ID) applications.
One thing I wanted to ask Summerville about was the company’s MicroHAWK smart cameras and ID readers. These compact devices are fully integrated with optics, processor, lighting, and communications, and offer an array of modular hardware options. As some will recall, Microscan had heavily teased the release of this product through intentionally-vague marketing campaigns, so I wanted to hear—directly from the company—why they are so excited about this product.
"One of the significant features of MicroHAWK is the fact that the hardware is the same for both vision smart cameras and ID readers. MicroHAWK is a platform not simply a product. This allows for greater operational efficiencies and the flexibility to serve our customers faster across a broad range of applications." MicroHAWK cameras, he added, can be deployed in embedded applications such as clinical diagnostics instrumentation, factory automation, material handling, and more.
In terms of what benefits these cameras may have over competitors, Summerville noted their "extremely small size," telling me that the smart camera is the smallest, fully-integrated machine vision system in the world. Notable features of the cameras include 2nd generation liquid lens technology, a web browser-based interface for the ID reader, and a much improved user experience, he said.
"The setup time is greatly reduced, which was one of our major design parameters," he said. "Others can undoubtedly do this, but our specific approach created an incredibly responsive UI. We’ve received major orders, in part, based on the reduced setup time."
In terms of how the company chooses to develop products, Summerville noted that it is the result of both the Voice of Customer as well as the latest technology in industry which Microscan’s development team pays close attention to on a continuous basis.
Looking forward to potential areas of growth, Summerville kept in line with his company’s recent philosophy, suggesting that there will be a big need for continued miniaturization and improved performance, particularly in reading small codes. In addition, we see big opportunities in invisible code reading, for applications such as security and anti-counterfeiting," he said.
When asked about what else the company is excited about, Summerville brought to my attention the LVS-7510 Print Quality Inspection System, which is used for bar code label verification and blemish detection in medical device, pharmaceutical, automotive, and consumer goods manufacturing and packaging.
"To meet FDA standards, barcodes must grade out at C or higher against the ISO 15416 spec," he said. "Microscan has worked with the large thermal transfer and flexographic printer manufacturers to become the market leader in fully integrated 100% in-line inspection to the ISO specification."
He added, "today, the package is the product. Given the regulatory environment and stringent quality standards of most manufacturers, the quality of the packaging is just as important as the quality of the product."
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