“Focus on the Image Processing Task, This Is What We Are All About”
Interview with Carsten Strampe, Managing Director of Imago Technologies
What are the major growth areas in the machine vision industry? What are the effects of the cancellation of Vision 2020 and how do online-based alternatives compare? David Löh, deputy editor-in-chief of inspect, has talked about this with Carsten Strampe, managing director of Imago Technologies, manufacturer of embedded systems. In the course of this, Strampe also explains the latest product from his company: the matchbox-sized VisionSensor.
inspect: Imago has recently inaugurated a new production building. With which products for which industry will this be utilized in the future?
Carsten Strampe: We produce our entire portfolio there for our series machine manufacturing customers in various industries.
inspect: Where do you see the biggest growth areas for machine vision?
Strampe: Technically speaking, in easy to-operate systems, as small and compact as possible. In both respects we rely on the event-based sensors in our Linux-based VisionCam.
inspect: You also want to grow more internationally with Imago. Which countries or regions do you have in mind?
Strampe: Classic industrialized countries such as the USA, Japan, Korea and China.
inspect: How has Imago come through the Corona crisis so far?
Strampe: Good altogether. Our second building has created space and thus distance, no one has fallen ill, and declines in sales have been limited.
inspect: To what extent has the Corona pandemic changed the way we think about manufacturing abroad or at home?
Strampe: Not at all. We have a worldwide procurement system and know that domestic suppliers could be competitive. Competitiveness is not only defined by prices; you simply must want to make an effort.
inspect: Which measures have helped you to maintain business activity?
Strampe: In essence, there was a lot of space, i.e. many individual offices. The so important communication among the employees never really broke down. A technology company thrives on ideas, the exchange of viewpoints and differences of opinion, and this only functions to a limited extent in video conferences.
inspect: How do you assess the impact of the cancelled trade fairs, especially the Vision trade fair, on the machine vision industry?
Strampe: Backward step.
I think it’s a great pity – the trade show every two years is a communication platform for and with customers. Vision is a real knowledge hall with many experts and high-quality discussions. I wonder why it can’t take place in spring 2021.
inspect: Can virtual events partially replace face-to-face events?
Strampe: Not at all. Ask yourself: Why is the German trade fair landscape in particular still flourishing? Why do people fly around the globe to visit a trade fair? It is about trust in companies and people. I have been finding information itself on the Internet for decades.
inspect: What do you think of so-called hybrid events?
Strampe: From a technical point of view, the expectation of further sources of information is goal-oriented, as for example webinars or explanatory videos. Perhaps the areas for customer talks at the booth will become larger and live demos will decrease.
inspect: Let’s talk about the new vision sensor from Imago: What are the most important features of your vision system?
Strampe: Miniaturization is a keyword – but especially the View IT tool, which greatly simplifies and accelerates the development of individual solutions. No more C++, no more wasting time with the GUI. Focusing on the image processing task, that is what we are all about.
inspect: For which user group is it suitable?
Strampe: Even beginners can get a hang on it. But they should also be adequately trained, i.e. have heard about image processing in their studies. You still need a portion of imagination about what image processing algorithms do in the image. With this basic understanding, you can then also come to robustly functioning solutions.
inspect: For which applications is the vision sensor particularly suitable?
Strampe: The applications are not limited. The resolution of the 2-MPixel sensor allows the solution of many everyday tasks, the quad-core processor calculates even more complex algorithms. It is progress – but with a complex pattern matching in 2 ms process time – it would be better to go in the direction of Box-IPC.
inspect: How did Imago manage to make the vision sensor so compact?
Strampe: Just as Coca-Cola does not reveal its recipe, we don’t either. So, the answer is: through the expertise of the Imago Technologies staff.
inspect: What products do you have in the development pipeline for next year?
Strampe: With the Visionsensor the camera resolution is increased, our event-based Visioncam becomes smaller, deep learning requires inference computers and applications merge even more with hardware requirements, keyword embedded machine vision. But we leave the concrete details to the imagination of our engineers and customers.