Cognex is a global leader in machine vision, having shipped more than 2 million products since the company’s founding in 1981.

Cognex products include machine vision systems, sensors and barcode readers that are used in factories and distribution centers around the world to eliminate production and shipping errors.

Daniel Rudkin, Logistics Sales Manager Europe at Cognex, speaks to Warehouse & Logistics News.

What are your best-known products/solutions/services?

Cognex machine vision and barcode reading solutions deliver high accuracy and robust performance which helps improve traceability, increase throughput, and reduce costs associated with manual rework. In addition, these solutions provide rich real-time performance data and trending insights that help optimize operations.

Which industry sectors are your customers in and which ones are growing fastest?

Cognex supplies inspection, guidance and identification solutions to virtually all manufacturing and logistics industry sectors. Obviously, in industries such as EV battery production where a high level of accuracy is required, or retail distribution with ever growing throughput and expectations regarding product quality and deliverability, customers need to automate as many processes as possible in a smart and robust way. Also, industries where government regulations play a more and more important role, such as pharma, medical devices or food and beverage, have a growing need for powerful vision systems and barcode readers.

What are your most recent product innovations?

Cognex has recently introduced several exciting new products. The latest addition is a bottom-side barcode reading system that can be installed as part of a multi-sided scan tunnel or individually to read 1D and 2D codes on the underside of parcels while they pass over a gap in the conveyor belt. This makes the system ideal for solving high-speed, complex material handling applications in retail distribution and e-commerce fulfillment centers. Another innovative product development is a high-speed steerable mirror that is preassembled to the front of a powerful barcode reader for large area scanning with a single reader. This patented technology can be deployed in five minutes or less to be used for pallet scanning, aggregation, and other large area applications that previously required high-resolution PC-vision or multiple fixed-mount sensors.

What are the major trends and developments affecting your sector and your customers, and how are you responding?

Higher throughput and expectations regarding delivery times and product quality result in a growing need for powerful automation technology. Read rates need to be maximised even when the code quality is poor or codes are barely visible. Space on conveyors or in trucks needs to be used as efficiently as possible to keep up with increased throughput. Cognex knows about these challenges and provides cutting-edge vision technology that supports our customers in improving traceability, and automating and optimising their processes even under the most challenging conditions.

At the same time, operators cannot spend much time to learn how to deploy a system. That’s why our software is designed to be easy and intuitive to be used and maintained while more and more Cognex products also feature modular hardware for more flexibility.

Another trend we see is the increased amount of insight-rich data that is produced by machine vision tools and barcode reading systems across manufacturing and logistics facilities. Efficient data collection and analysis from highly interconnected devices forms the backbone of Industry 4.0 and Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) initiatives. The Cognex Edge Intelligence (EI) platform transforms that big data into smart data and provides real-time system performance monitoring and device management to improve overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) and throughput.

Can you tell us about any recent customer contracts and how you helped the customer meet their challenges?

A nice example of a customer that uses Cognex technology is Dick’s Sporting Goods, the largest retailer of sporting goods, footwear, and athletic apparel in the United States. They needed to ensure products could get to customers faster than ever before. The retailer opted for Cognex scan tunnels and barcode reading technology to optimize inbound receiving, speed up order fulfillment and sortation, ensure efficient print and apply process, and achieve same day fulfillment and higher read rates.

Can you tell us about any areas where you’re currently making technical advances?

An area where Cognex is making strong technical advancements is machine vision based on deep learning technology which deploys artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms to teach robots and machines to do what comes naturally to humans: learning by example. This technology is truly a game changer for a wide range of applications. It automates and scales complex part location, assembly verification, defect detection, classification, and character reading inspection applications that, until now, were too challenging for traditional machine vision alone. The great news is that deep learning is now easier to use than ever before:

Applications that previously required vision expertise are now solvable by non-vision experts. Cognex is now incorporating deep learning technology into their smart cameras to make it more operator-friendly, and developing more tools that can be used to automate logistics applications such as item categorisation and parcel inspection.

Are you taking part in any major trade shows? Can you tell us what you’ll be exhibiting there?

We’ll be exhibiting a wide range of our barcode readers, machine vision and tunnel scanning solutions in several international tradeshows, starting with LogiMAT on 31 May – 2 June in Stuttgart, Germany. Later this year, you can find us at the Logistics Summit from 5 – 6 October in Hamburg, and Parcel and Post Expo from 18 – 20 October in Frankfurt. Furthermore, we will be exhibiting our range of 2D and 3D machine vision systems and software and Deep Learning on several tradeshows focusing on automation technology for manufacturing industries.


t: 0121 296 5163




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