Change as a Constant: 30 Years of Matrix Vision

Head-quartered in the Swabian district of Oppenweiler near Stuttgart, Matrix Vision is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year (Source: Matrix Vision).

Head-quartered in the Swabian district of Oppenweiler near Stuttgart, Matrix Vision is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year (Source: Matrix Vision).

When Gerhard Thullner and Werner Armingeon set up Matrix Vision on June 24 1986, little did they know that 30 years later they would have close to 100 employees and a depth and breadth of technological expertise that is unusual in the industry.

The young company did not begin with image processing directly. Rather, at the start it developed software for atomic absorption spectrometers. In contrast to the business direction, the division of roles was clear right from the get-go: while Armingeon was responsible for the technical part, Thullner was in charge of the business side of things. With this approach, the team developed an instinct for correctly interpreting technological trends and constantly evolving and adapting the business.

In the early years of the PC, Atari products were very popular with early adopters like universities, and among users with graphics-related tasks. Thullner and Armingeon had their first business ventures in this field and developed a graphic controller for large-screen Atari computers. After just six weeks of development, the two presented this innovative new product with their highly motivated team at the CeBIT trade fair in Hanover in 1989.

Matrix Vision became the global market leader with the Atari graphic controller but Thullner and Armingeon were not content to rest on their laurels. By the time PCs caught up with Atari, the two engineers had already moved in a new direction: The company started developing frame grabbers for industrial applications. With these electronic components that are used to digitize analog video signals, the company had entered the still-young image processing sector.

This move opened up a new area for Armingeon who felt that the standard image processing solution, comprising a frame grabber, camera and PC, was too complex and unreliable. By integrating all the components into a single product, the smart camera was born.

Once interfaces such as USB and Ethernet had become established on the market, standard cameras joined frame grabbers in the company’s standard product line in 2004. Today, Matrix Vision has a portfolio of over 210 camera versions, which have secured a firm position on the market thanks to the special features they offer. For example, the FPGA used in all the cameras performs a whole range of processing jobs, thereby reducing the load on the host system. The internal image memories ensure reliable image transmission without any data loss. All of these features are requirements that have become increasingly important in recent years with regard to green automation and continuous process monitoring.

With the appointment of Erhard Meier to General Manager of Business in 2011, the company began handing over the managerial reins to the next generation early on. At the same time, the company founders assumed an advisory role, so their experience remained within the company.

Together with Uwe Furtner as the Technical Managing Director, this line-up was soon to prove successful: in 2015 Matrix Vision received an innovation award for the innovative mvBlueSirius 6D industrial camera which, in addition to capturing static 3D data, also perceives the movement and color of objects in a room.

Marking its 30th anniversary, the company achieved its next masterstroke in early 2016 with the mvBlueGemini smart camera. Featuring mvImpact Configuration Studio software (or simply “mvImpact-CS”), the smart camera has become an easy-to-use but powerful component for automation. mvImpact-CS opens up the world of image processing both to users without programming knowledge and developers without image processing knowledge. In the context of Industrie 4.0, in which industrial image processing plays a key role, smart cameras can now be easily integrated into an automation solution as complex programming tasks are now a thing of the past. This is very much in keeping with the company’s slogan celebrating 30 years of Matrix Vision – We Change Your Vision. (Source: Matrix Vision)

Link: Matrix Vision GmbH, Oppenweiler, Germany

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