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In an interview with CIO Applications, Sam Lopez, senior VP of sales and marketing at Matrox Imaging, shares his insights on how the company utilizes its expertise in machine vision to offer superior solutions.
Can you give us an overview of your company?
Matrox Electronic Systems was founded in 1976 by a team of engineers with innovative ideas on how to develop next-generation hardware and software applications. From being a provider of video display adapters, we have expanded our portfolio to service three key areas, namely, the graphics industry, video and broadcast sector, and lastly, the imaging space. Currently, Matrox Electronic Systems has a workforce of over 700 employees across the globe.
Back in the early 1980s, Matrox Imaging was one of the first companies to develop frame grabbers—also called video/camera interface boards—and these devices allowed users to capture analog video data, digitize that data, and feed the images to a computer for image processing. At that time, we were mainly working with mini- and micro-computers; however, when the personal computers were introduced in 1984, our company transitioned into developing PC boards that were capable of augmenting CPU performance in order to execute machine vision tasks. Today, Matrox Imaging is an established and trusted supplier to top OEMs and integrators involved in machine vision, image analysis, and medical imaging industries, among others. Matrox Imaging prides itself on adhering to industry best practices in all hardware manufacturing and software development, championing industry standards in our design, and offering comprehensive customer support.
Could you elaborate on the portfolio of imaging solutions that you offer?
Our products consist of smart cameras, vision controllers, I/O cards, and frame grabbers, all designed to provide optimum price-performance within a common software environment. To help vision system developers address increasing time constraints in this fast-paced and always more demanding world of machine vision application development, Matrox Imaging offers two types of machine-vision software. Our flagship software development toolkit (SDK), called Matrox Imaging Library (MIL), is an extensive collection of tools for every step in the process, from application feasibility and prototyping, through to development and ultimately deployment. MIL offers an interactive development environment called MIL CoPilot that allows customers to accelerate the evaluation and prototyping of an application and easily generate functional program code.
We have been fortunate enough to build long-standing relationships with our customers. Matrox Imaging considers itself a partner to all our clients because recognizing the specific demands of a business and collaborating with that business to develop innovative applications that fulfill mutual needs
A key aspect that makes Matrox Imaging products a cut above the rest is our emphasis on choosing the right components to ensure consistency, quality, and long-term availability. We are one of the few companies that offers support for the broadest range of platforms, allowing us to simplify machine-vision-based application development. Lastly, our hardware and software interoperate seamlessly with cameras from manufacturers’ worldwide, providing flexibility and reliability.
What is your client engagement strategy?
We have been fortunate to build long-standing relationships with our customers. I believe our clients deserve and appreciate having an ongoing dialogue with us over the course of application development and deployment; this type of communication is mutually beneficial, in that it helps address their immediate machine-vision-related plans while also helping shape our roadmap for future product offerings. In fact, many of our product enhancements are inspired by suggestions from our customers during development of other solutions. Matrox Imaging considers itself a partner to all our clients, recognizing their unique demands, and collaborating with each customer to develop innovative applications and solutions for their business needs.
Could you cite a client success story to highlight the impact of your offerings?
In one instance, Matrox Imaging was instrumental in assisting a leading automotive company scale their vision-inspection capabilities and enhance their overall operations. Initially, every time this automotive giant wanted to switch from one inspection station to the next, they had to perform extensive testing, and deal with feasibility issues; obviously, this took a significant amount of time and caused production delays. To overcome this challenge, we devised a customized solution that replaced the rigid inspection system in place with a highly flexible application built on Matrox Design Assistant vision software. Our efficient and powerful IDE allowed this customer to run their machine vision tasks on a variety of workstations and platforms, including smart cameras and industrial PCs. The solution also allowed the client to further hone their error proofing and track-and-trace requirements. It is no small thing to say that the collaboration with Matrox Imaging helped this industry-leading automotive manufacturer become more efficient and decrease time-to-market for their vehicles.
How does Matrox Imaging envision its future?
In 2019, we dramatically increased the machine-learning-based functionality of our software platforms. As with the rest of our portfolio, these software products were developed strategically, leveraging the accumulated experience and knowledge of our engineering team. Looking ahead, we plan to continue optimizing our machine learning solutions and developing additional deep learning solutions that add more value to machine vision applications. Furthermore, we will continue developing streamlined, easy-to-use products that are highly scalable and enhance the interoperability between equipment on production lines. We believe that, as we get closer to achieving this goal, our clients will be able to create ever-more complex vision solutions that operate without downtime and wasting resources.