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News

Cognex Enters the Machine Vision Sensor Business

Cognex Corporation

Cognex targets rapidly growing market for low-cost, vision-aided automation on the factory-floor

Natick, MA - Cognex Corporation (NASDAQ - CGNX), the world's leading supplier of machine vision systems, today announced that it is entering the fast-growing, and potentially very large, market for low-cost vision sensors.  The first product to be introduced by Cognex specifically for that market is In-Sight™ 2000.  

In-Sight™ 2000 is an innovative, low-cost machine vision sensor that puts the power of Cognex's proven vision technology into the hands of manufacturing engineers who need relatively simple and inexpensive machine vision sensors to control manufacturing processes at numerous points on their production lines.  In-Sight was designed to bridge the gap between single-purpose "smart cameras"-which typically lack the power and flexibility to solve all but the most trivial vision tasks-and general purpose machine vision systems which are higher in price and which are more complex to use.

"For the past few years we have been carefully monitoring…but not participating in…the market for low-cost vision sensors," said Dr. Robert J. Shillman, Cognex's President, CEO and Chairman.  "Although the market is currently quite small (we estimate it at approximately $50 million in annual revenue worldwide), it is growing quite rapidly, and we believe that now is the right time to jump in with a superior product offering." 

"From my experience, there are a lot of situations where people need something more capable than a simple sensor but cannot justify the cost of a high-end vision system," said Valerie Bolhouse, machine vision specialist at Ford Motor Corporation's Advanced Manufacturing Technology Development Center.  "In-Sight fills the niche in the marketplace between the limited functionality of 'smart camera' products offered by other companies and high-end, full-function vision systems." 

In-Sight features a unique, patent-pending, "spreadsheet" user interface, which enables anyone with basic spreadsheet experience to completely configure a vision application. Users do not need any computer programming skills or a PC…either to set it up or to operate it.  Instead, they navigate through the spreadsheet with a hand-held control pad identical to the one used to play many popular video games.  In-Sight comes complete and ready to use right out of the box with a high-performance processing unit, modular power supply and cables; also included is a unique, high-performance digital camera, which was designed by Cognex specifically for machine vision applications.

"By making machine vision even easier and more cost effective, In-Sight will enable manufacturers to use machine vision in numerous places on their production lines," said Dr. Shillman.  "Our ultimate objective is to have a Cognex vision sensor installed at every point on every automated manufacturing line in the world where value is being added.  In-Sight will bring us closer to achieving that goal."

In-Sight will be available in the second quarter of 2000 at a list price of under $5,000 in low volume.  The product is being initially targeted at the automotive, medical and consumer packaging markets.  Typical applications might include guiding robots to accurately pick up and place engine components, ensuring that medical test kits are properly assembled and ensuring that packages for consumer products are accurately filled and labeled.

Cognex Corporation designs, develops, manufactures, and markets machine vision systems, or computers that can "see."  Cognex is the world's leader in the machine vision industry, having shipped to date more than 100,000 machine vision systems.  Cognex's Modular Vision Systems Division, headquartered in Natick, Massachusetts, specializes in machine vision systems which are used for automating the manufacture of a wide range of discrete items and for assuring their quality.  Cognex's Surface Inspection Systems Division, headquartered in Alameda, California, specializes in machine vision systems which are used for inspecting the surfaces of products manufactured in a continuous fashion, such as metals, paper, and plastics.  In addition to its corporate headquarters in Natick, Massachusetts, Cognex also has regional offices located throughout North America, Japan, Europe, and Southeast Asia.  Visit Cognex on-line at http://www.cognex.com.

CONTACT:
Robin Pratt
Corporate Communications Manager
Cognex Corporation
Phone:  (508) 650-3384

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