Cognex implements new business initiatives

Jan. 7, 2004
JANUARY 7--Cognex Corporation (Natick, MA; has formed two new product teams within its Modular Vision Systems Division to focus engineering and marketing resources on new markets and applications for machine-vision systems.

JANUARY 7--Cognex Corporation (Natick, MA;, a supplier of machine-vision systems, has formed two new product teams within its Modular Vision Systems Division to focus engineering and marketing resources on new markets and applications for machine-vision systems that are currently in the early stages of adoption, but which are expected to grow very rapidly in the future. "Since the mid-1980s, the growth driver in our business has been the increasing need for our machine-vision systems to precisely guide sophisticated capital equipment used in the manufacture of semiconductor devices and printed-circuit boards," said Robert J. Shillman, Cognex chairman and CEO. "Following two very slow years caused by the collapse of the Internet bubble, that market for our products has recently shown a nice pickup, and we expect to maintain our leadership position there. During that slowdown, our marketing and corporate development teams searched for, and found, new applications where machine vision promises to have great potential. To accelerate engineering development and get products to market as quickly as possible for these new opportunities, we have established two new dedicated product teams, which will report directly to Cognex chief operating officer Jim Hoffmaster."

The first new product team will work on ID Products, and it will be managed by Justin Testa, a senior vice president and 20-year Cognex veteran. This product team will design, develop, and market machine-vision systems that can quickly and reliably read codes (for example, serial numbers, barcodes, or two-dimensional codes, such as the Data Matrix code) that have been stamped, scribed, etched, printed, or otherwise formed directly on the surfaces of manufactured goods ranging from pharmaceutical items to aircraft components. The ID Products team is already marketing both fixed-mount and hand-held readers; the fixed-mount units were developed internally, and the hand-held units come from the company's recent acquisition of Gavitec in Germany.

The second new product team is the Expert Sensors team, which will be managed by Brian Phillips, a Cognex vice president and 10-year veteran with the company. This product team will focus on the design, development, and marketing of ultralow-cost vision sensors that are each designed to solve a specific automation problem. The Expert Sensors group has already developed a people sensor that uses unique 3-D technology for the control of automatic doors, and the group will soon introduce a new generation of expert sensors that will compete in the $1.5 billion worldwide market for "presence sensing" technology.

These two new dedicated product teams are part of the Modular Vision Systems Division, along with the division's two existing product line teams: In-Sight Vision, managed by senior vice president John McGarry, which serves industrial end users with an expanding line of In-Sight Vision Sensors; and PC Vision, managed by Cognex senior vice president and cofounder Marilyn Matz, which serves the company's PC-based vision users--primarily OEM customers in the semiconductor and electronics markets.

"Moore's Law continues to benefit machine vision," said COO Hoffmaster. "The continued decline in price and increase in power of today's digital-signal processors open up significant new opportunities for machine vision that just didn't exist two years ago. By adding these new dedicated product teams, we fully expect to quickly become the market leader in each of these new high-volume markets."

In addition to the Modular Vision Systems Division, Cognex maintains a second division, the Surface Inspection Systems Division, which provides vision systems for monitoring the surface quality of paper, metals, and plastics, and is managed by Markku Jaaskelainen, senior vice president.

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