3D machine vision market in the USA: Interview with Dave Sexton from North Coast Technical

By Andrea Ferkova || September 22, 2022

North Coast Technical is our long-term partner and a trusted distributor of our technology in the U.S. market. We talked to Dave Sexton, President at North Coast Technical, about the U.S. market and its demand for 3D vision technology.

How does the North American market adopt 3D vision technology? Do you think the demand for 3D vision and smart automation will increase in the future?

D.S.: The interest in 3D vision technology and automation solutions enabled by vision-guided robotics is tremendous in the U.S. New products are being introduced every day in response to the rising trend to innovate and boost production with high-end automation. The demand for 3D vision and smart automation is growing fast and will eventually replace 2D vision over time. This is because 3D vision can provide much more information and benefits than 2D vision.

The standard scheme of adopting 3D vision technologies by U.S. businesses works as follows: Most 3D vision projects start with a feasibility trial to test the technology and make sure it works well and can be deployed on a real production line. After successful testing, the solution can be rolled out on a larger scale.

Where do you see the greatest strengths of Photoneo technology? Why do you think it is better than competitive solutions that are available on the market?

D.S.: Photoneo provides a unique 3D sensing technology that gives it a head start over other technologies on the market. It offers customers something that other solutions cannot provide, which is the ability to capture and make the 3D reconstruction of fast-moving objects in perfect quality – and now also in color. That’s a unique value proposition that makes Photoneo technology stand out from the crowd.

Another big advantage is that Photoneo provides both hardware and software. Its automation solutions comprise 3D vision as well as robotic intelligence software and AI to provide a complete stack of technology under one roof. Customers appreciate when they do not need to look for different vendors to develop one single solution.

A big plus is also that Photoneo’s technology is compatible with 3rd party software such as Matrox, for instance.

And finally, Photoneo provides high-quality products that work! Thanks to the IP65 rating and thermal calibration, Photoneo’s 3D vision devices provide robust and reliable performance even in challenging industrial environments. This is an important asset for our customers as many projects are deployed exactly in these types of environments.

« Photoneo provides a unique 3D sensing technology that gives it a head start over other technologies on the market. It offers customers something that other solutions cannot provide, which is the ability to capture and make the 3D reconstruction of fast-moving objects in perfect quality – and now also in color.»

— Dave Sexton, President at North Coast Technical —

What were the most important factors in your decision to distribute Photoneo products? How do you benefit from this partnership?

D.S.: One of the most important factors that we have seen as a great advantage is the flexibility of Photoneo technology and the wide range of application areas that it can cover. The technology is being used in bin picking applications, pick & place tasks, 3D inspection and quality control, manufacturing, 3D recognition for decision-making applications, palletization and depalletization, 3D model creation, and countless others.

This also means that Photoneo technology can be used for automation in many different sectors, such as the automotive industry, manufacturing, food & beverage, agriculture, medicine, logistics, and others.

Photoneo’s wide product portfolio and large applicability range enable us to satisfy more customers.

Now, let’s talk about MotionCam-3D and the patented Parallel Structured Light technology. Where do you see its greatest strengths compared to other technologies available on the market?

D.S.: Well, there is nothing like MotionCam-3D on the market that could compare to its capabilities. Photoneo developed a unique technology that gives it a great competitive advantage in the market.

Like with all new technologies, it will take some time for the market to adopt the technology but it is already happening and the traction is significant!

What are the most common projects and sectors that use Photoneo technology?

D.S.: The most common applications that use Photoneo 3D vision technology include line tracking and robot guidance in the automotive sector, robotic welding and weld quality inspection, or real-time, colorful 3D model creation of moving objects in aerospace applications.

What do you think about the new version of MotionCam-3D that can capture color information? Where do you see its strengths and best use cases?

D.S.: The combination of 3D data, color, and motion in a single device is absolutely unique in the marketplace and enables customers to do applications that were not possible before.

I see a huge potential in the food & beverage industry, where the camera can be used for the detection of specific qualities, such as if a food product is burnt or undercooked, or if a piece of fruit or vegetable is ripe or not.

The need for this kind of application has been unmet by now as there was no technology that could provide satisfactory results.

MotionCam-3D Color enables high-quality, colorful 3D model creation of objects in motion that can have any shape, size, color, or material. This new machine vision capability enables customers to see features they were not able to recognize before with standard machine vision technologies.

What have been the most memorable projects for you that utilize Photoneo technology?

D.S.: Very impressive projects can be found in the automotive sector – for instance, robotic wheel alignment, line tracking, or automated car underbody inspection.

I can also see a huge potential in Photoneo’s advanced bin picking tool Bin Picking Studio or Locator Studio for fast piece picking in collision-free environments.

Very unique applications can also be expected from PhoXi 3D Meshing, which takes the stream of colorized point clouds and instantly creates a full 3D model of the scene while integrating together 3D data and color information.

 About North Coast Technical, Inc.:

North Coast Technical was founded in 1997 to distribute machine vision solutions for OEMs and system integrators. The company is headquartered in Chesterland, OH, with offices in Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, and Detroit. You can contact them at sales@nctechsales.com or at (440) 729-7540.

About the Author

Andrea Ferkova
Andrea Ferkova
Sr. PR Specialist || Website

Andrea Ferkova is senior public relations specialist at Photoneo and writer of technological articles on smart automation powered by robotic vision and intelligence. She has a master’s from the University of Vienna.

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