ISJ Exclusive: Smart technology opens up new fields of application

Smart technology new fields of application

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ISJ Exclusive – April Edition

International Security Journal charts the history of IDS, a leading manufacturer of industrial cameras and a pioneer in industrial image processing.

“The will to create something new is firmly anchored in all of us”, explains Jan Hartmann, IDS’ Managing Director and son of the company founder. There are now two generations working in the company, leading the continuous growth of the industrial camera manufacturer from Germany which celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2022.

The innovative approach, coupled with an intuition for technological trends and a great willingness to change, is IDS Imaging Development System’s key to success. But, the pioneer in industrial image processing is positioning itself not only with innovations, but as an “enabler”. User friendliness is above all. The company from Obersulm, Germany wants to support its customers in finding solutions more quickly and easily.

Since its foundation in 1997 as a two person company, IDS has developed into an independent, ISO and environmentally certified family business with around 350 employees as well as branches and representative offices in the US, Japan, South Korea, the UK, France and the Netherlands.

Pioneer in machine vision

Starting with frame grabbers, PC plug-in cards for digitising analog image data, the change to an industrial camera manufacturer came in 2004.

With courage and foresight, the company around founder and visionary Jürgen Hartmann launched the first industrial camera with USB interface. This completed the transition from analog to digital – a resounding success and at the same time a decisive step towards securing the future: IDS was able to double its sales from 2004 to 2006.

With the introduction of GigE models in 2007 and later the entry into the 3D segment with the Ensenso 3D cameras, another threshold was crossed.

But the market is changing: It’s about more than just developing easy-to-use cameras. Instead, the applications are much more in the foreground and the tasks of the customers are becoming increasingly complex. The company is therefore currently focusing on the question of how IDS products can contribute even more to developing innovations that have a positive impact on people, the environment and society.

An important keyword in this context is certainly AI: It solves tasks that classical image processing usually fails at or at least is very complex to implement and thus opens up completely new fields of application. However, many companies have reservations about the new technology, whether due to a lack of time, expertise or control and certification options.

For many decision makers, AI is still difficult to understand. A lack of acceptance is the result. IDS wants to specifically counteract this and leverages its position as one of the leading companies in the field of industrial cameras to massively facilitate access to artificial intelligence with easy-to-use, intelligent image processing components. 

AI vision systems for smart city applications

With IDS´s latest innovation, IDS NXT (an AI vision ecosystem) is available for this purpose, consisting of intelligent cameras with an intuitive software environment. It enables the execution of AI processes directly in the camera. The system offers beginners and professionals alike unprecedented scope for designing AI vision applications.

“IDS wants to make it easier for users to access this key technology and help them initiate urgently needed automation processes with easy-to-use, intelligent image processing components,” emphasises Jürgen Hartmann. The opportunities offered by corresponding solutions are enormous and associated with completely new fields of application, such as environment, smart farming, smart transport and smart cities on a broader scale.

Especially in smart city applications, the area of security technology plays an important role. Here, AI vision systems can detect events in real time that indicate a security risk e.g. in the anonymised monitoring of public buildings or places. Indicators of mass panic at major events can be detected.

Paired with AI-based facial recognition systems, access to security relevant areas by unauthorised persons, such as data centres or server rooms, can be prevented. At the same time, certain objects in images can be recognised that point to a security risk. For example, an AI system can spot the presence of weapons, explosive materials or hazardous chemicals and trigger an alarm.

Users can access solutions of this kind via the new and so far unique online marketplace for image processing – “visionpier”. With this, IDS is building a virtual bridge between users, with or without image processing experience, and providers of turnkey vision solutions; they can discuss solutions, develop or enhance them, use, adapt and reuse them.

This expansion of the business focus not only means setting up a company more broadly for the coming years, but also penetrating industries in which IDS can make a direct positive effect on growing socio-political challenges.

3D vision as a growth driver

In addition to the AI segment, the 3D sector is also growing strongly. Accordingly, the IDS portfolio will be expanded in the current year by a new, cost-optimised series for large-volume applications. “We see this segment as one of the main growth drivers,” underlines Jan Hartmann.

Secondly, in the 2D segment, last year’s launch of the uEye cameras with the newly developed USB3 technology platform has more than proven its worth. This means that the camera manufacturer is more supplier-independent and thus better cushions component bottlenecks. More models with this hardware technology will follow in the coming months.

In addition, new cameras with high data rates and faster and larger sensors are meeting growing needs, as are price-optimised models with reliable basic functions. To meet the increasing demand, IDS has developed the uEye Warp 10, which enables extremely fast frame rates and ensures particularly high quality requirements.

Moreover, new product variants are being added to the entry level range in the product line, which further expands their possible uses in customer applications, for example, in kiosk systems or traffic monitoring.

A holistic approach

Machine vision is considered a growing industry – demand and supply is increasing, despite the energy crisis and chip shortage. IDS is positioning itself in this promising market with solid growth forecasts. In addition to economic success, the company also strives for sustainability through the careful and economical use of resources.

As an environmentally certified company, IDS tries to keep its ecological footprint as small as possible and to protect the environment. This includes sustainability in production and shipping, fairness towards business partners as well as family awareness and a good work life balance. Even IDS products help to conserve raw materials and optimise processes in almost all countries.

Additionally, since 2021, the company has offset unavoidable greenhouse gas emissions by supporting international climate protection projects and thus operates in a completely climate-neutral manner.

Further measures are firmly anchored in the company’s long term goals in order to steadily reduce CO2 emissions at the Obersulm site. Most recently, the compensation of the first climate-neutral camera family, uEye CP, was updated.

“We are not the only ones who feel a moral obligation to keep CO2 emissions as low as possible in every area of the company,” said Alexander Lewinsky, the company’s Managing Director. “Such factors are also playing an increasingly important role in our customers’ purchasing decisions. Ultimately, everyone benefits from this, producers and customers as well as our environment and society.”

About IDS Imaging Development Systems GmbH

IDS Imaging Development Systems GmbH is a manufacturer of industrial cameras and a pioneer in industrial image processing. The owner-managed, climate-neutral company develops modular concepts of powerful and versatile USB, GigE and 3D cameras as well as models with AI. The broad range of applications covers multiple non-industrial and industrial sectors of equipment, plant and mechanical engineering.

The AI image processing platform, IDS NXT, is extremely versatile and opens up new areas of application where classic rule-based image processing may reach its limits. With visionpier, IDS operates an online marketplace that brings together suppliers of ready-made image processing solutions and interested end customers in a targeted manner.

To find out more information, click here.

This article was originally published in the April edition of ISJ. To read your free digital edition, click here.

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