With its ability to help automate quality control, guide flexible pick-and-place systems, and simplify inventory tracking procedures, machine vision is of growing importance to industrial automation technology. By converting light captured via a smart camera into various types of digital image output, machine vision sensors provide a wealth of complex data that can allow automated systems to identify objects, navigate complex and changing workspaces, and analyze materials in a manner that was previously out of reach.
To expand its own machine vision offerings, Zebra Technologies—a company focused on data capture and automatic identification products—has acquired the imaging division of electronic company Matrox. Matrox, which also produces audio-video software and hardware for the broadcast market will retain this division.
Shortly before the acquisition, Zebra established a machine vision business unit with the intention of devoting more resources to its machine vision products.
"Through the introduction of more advanced, image-based sensing technologies and software-based visual analytics, Zebra can give customers greater visibility into the status of assets at the operational edge of their businesses to…operate more efficiently with increasingly automated, data-powered workflows, " said Donato Montanari, vice president and general manager of machine vision for Zebra.
Until the acquisition is finalized later this year, Montanari said Zebra will focus on tapping the expertise of Matrox’s machine vision engineers to improve future product releases rather than on rebranding Matrox technologies. More specifically, enhancements to Zebra’s automatic identification and data capture technologies, barcode and RFID-based data capture devices, and indoor location tracking offerings will be achieved by adding more advanced machine vision hardware, software, and services, such as 3D sensing and frame grabbers.
Zebra’s acquisition of Matrox’s imaging division follows is 2021 acquisition of machine vision software provider Adaptive Vision. That acquisition provided Zebra with access to enhanced machine learning and deep learning capabilities, improving the analytics capabilities of the company’s machine vision software.
"Zebra’s enterprise asset intelligence vision is for every asset and front-line worker on the edge to be visible, connected, and fully optimized," Montanari said. "Matrox Imaging will position Zebra to provide customers a broader spectrum of information about their assets, above and beyond identification. They will further our ability to enrich complex workflows with greater visibility, enabling the automation of repetitive tasks and answering a wider range of questions related to the inspection of assets such as build quality, consistency, proper quantities, and more."