Since traveling is unfortunately still difficult, we would like to take you on a little virtual trip around the world. In our new series “Machine Vision World Tour with Nerian” we will introduce you to our sales partners from all over the world in the near future.
Our first stop takes us to INFAIMON in Barcelona, Spain:
Tapas, Gaudí, Machine Vision and Women Power!
Carolina López, CTO of INFAIMON: “The main value that we offer to our customer is our advice, know-how and expertise.”
Interview with Carolina López, responsible for INFAIMON’s Technical and R&D Department, discussing the evolution of machine vision technologies and the development process of new solutions.
She is one of the few women in the industry working as CTO for a technology company. We are very proud to see INFAIMON work for equality among employees regardless of their gender.
Carolina Lopéz started working for the company in March 2006 as a technician specialized in a line of products oriented to the scientific market and, since early 2019, she is in charge of the technical department.
What role do you think your Technical Department plays at INFAIMON?
CL: “Although our Sales Department is the spearhead of our company, we are their main support because they depend to a large extent on our technical knowledge accumulated over the years. We have grown a lot recently and we are building a team of highly experienced technicians in machine vision.”
And what is the profile of your team members?
CL: “Our team consists of computer and industrial engineers, doctors, physicists, and opticians. We also have quality control technicians. At INFAIMON, technical knowledge is highly valued and even our sales team is consists out of engineers.”
Tell us about your daily life at work. What does your work mainly consist of?
CL: “Honestly, our daily work is quite complex. In our department we are about 20 people between Support and R&D. We mainly give support to the client who is working online, which involves a very agile and efficient organization of resources.
With the idea of opening the possibilities of machine vision in the industrial sector, some years ago we started to offer not only the product and support but also the service, mainly to customers interested in learning how to integrate machine vision into their systems. We are in charge of advising and training our customers and also giving them support in peak workloads. Some of them have no previous experience in machine vision, and so we help them to make the leap.”
In 2019, INFAIMON was acquired by the leading machine vision technology provider STEMMER IMAGING. Did this fact represent any change in the way of working of the department you manage?
CL: “It has been a positive change because we now have a larger technical department. The advantage that we can count on the resources of a group like STEMMER IMAGING gives us access to professionals with many years of experience with whom we work together closely.”
What advantages do you think INFAIMON offers over its competitors at a technical / R&D level?
CL: “Unlike our competitors, we are exclusively focused on machine vision and we are a multi-brand company with an extensive portfolio. But what we really sell is our advice, know-how, and expertise. Moreover, I would highlight the agility with which we respond to our customers, which I consider another great competitive advantage for us.
INFAIMON is a specialist in machine vision and imaging systems. How have these technologies evolved since the company was formed?
CL: “The evolution has been spectacular, especially if we compare with the type of applications that could be tackled with vision solutions 25 years ago when the company started. In its origins, INFAIMON was oriented to the scientific sector, commercializing vision systems for laboratories. But as you see the possibilities, new needs arise.
In the past, projects that could not be solved with the technologies available at the time (basically 2D and color imaging) were discarded. However, today we already have 3D techniques that provide more information, and we are currently working with artificial intelligence, Deep Learning, processing techniques that are similar to the way our brain thinks. The evolution has been abysmal.”
But there must be new challenges as well.
CL: “Obviously. You always find applications that need more resolution or some special analysis tool. Deep Learning continues to evolve, so let’s see where it takes us. Every time a new technology comes along, it is a new challenge for us.”
Which sectors do you think are more accustomed to using machine vision in their processes?
CL: “Undoubtedly the largest market is the automotive sector, where there are very specific quality requirements for the manufacture of components that force auxiliary industries to rely on machine vision to provide that level of quality. We are doing projects for large companies such as Nissan, Mercedes, and Volkswagen.
We are also having an increasing number of customers in the food sector. As food consumers, we have stricter demands, which translates into a higher level of demand from the manufacturer itself.”
What factors make you decide for one or another technology when you are facing a new project?
CL: “Before we recommend one technology over another for a project, we perform a test that we use as a reference to understand what we may need or what problems may arise, or what solutions this technology can give us over another. Generally, we do a feasibility study. The sales team presents us with a challenge, a customer problem, and we find the way to solve it.”
How do you determine the development of new solutions. Could you give us an example?
CL: “Here our communication with the Sales Department is crucial. Bin Picking is a good example. We began to receive many inquiries from customers who needed this type of solution and, strategically, we saw that there was a very interesting niche. That is why we decided to go all in. It was a path to follow that led us to the combination of vision with robotics.
InPicker is the biggest challenge we have had so far, which is the actual reason why we set up our R&D department. It has also been the most successful project so far. We are still focused on machine vision but now we have experts dedicated to robotics, communications, etc. It is giving us new perspectives and access to new customers.”
And finally, what do you think will be the future of your department?
CL: “Undoubtedly, service is the future: our customers want us to help them and that is the best way to grow mutually.”
Thank you very much, Carolina. We wish you and your team the best of luck in your new challenges.