The history of the HAWK family of products dates all the way back to 1982 when two pioneer vision companies, ITRAN and Automatix, started out. Automatix manufactured software intensive vision systems, mostly for robots and the automotive industry. ITRAN focused on high speed hardware based vision systems for general use. ITRAN also holds claim to the first graphical user programming interface for a vision system.
In 1995, these two companies merged to form Acuity Imaging. Acuity used the best hardware, algorithm and user interface ideas from both companies and created what we know of today as Visionscape. Acuity’s goal was to deploy Visionscape in one of the world’s first smart camera platforms. However, in 1996, RVSI bought Acuity Imaging and changed the company’s direction. Consequently, Visionscape was first deployed as a “vision engine”, a frame grabber and image processing board that supported up to four ‘dumb’ cameras per board. Multiples of these vision engine boards could be plugged into a PC backplane, and were used primarily for electronics inspection.
Between 1996 and 2000, RVSI made multiple other acquisitions as well based on the idea that 2D code reading was going to become the biggest and most profitable “vision” application ever. They acquired the DataMatrix technology, as well as a company that made an extremely innovative code reading smart camera, with superior out of the box experience called the Hawk Eye. This eventually evolved into the Hawk Eye HE1500 code reading smart camera which excelled in reading direct part marks.
Towards the end of the tenure, RVSI sold the machine vision and code reading business to Siemens. During that time our first full machine vision smart camera, the HawkEye 1600 was introduced. In 2007 the business was sold again, this time to Omron Microscan. With the acquisition, Omron Microscan inherited the PC-based vision system product line, including I-PAK, the HawkEye-1600 vision smart camera and the HawkEye-1500 2D code reader.
Pic. 1 The history of acquisitions
Omron Microscan’s Technology Breakthroughs
Omron Microscan, which also stared in 1982, began as an auto-ID company. The first products were laser-based 1D code scanners. Omron Microscan later transitioned to imager-based readers, using cameras to read not just linear barcodes but two-dimensional codes as well. One of Omron Microscan’s key innovations was the miniaturization of the smart camera. The logical result of the acquisition of Acuity was to take the best of Omron Microscan’s hardware and code reading algorithms, and merge them with Acuity’s vision technology. This resulted in the Vision MINI and Vision HAWK smart camera lines.
Pic.2 Omron Microscan, pioneer of auto-ID solutions, takes the best of Acuity’s machine vision platform, and launches Vision MINI, Vision HAWK and Vision MINI Xi.
In 2016, Omron Microscan released the MicroHAWK, the next generation of smart camera. The MicroHAWK was designed with the requisite power, capabilities and sensors for both barcode reading and machine vision. MicroHAWK was a true revolution. Due to its extremely small size, power and simple programming user interfaces, MicroHAWK has proven to be extremely popular for standard, embedded, and robot vision applications in the electronics, packaging, automotive, clinical and medical device manufacturing markets.
The HAWK MV-4000 - More power than ever before.
When you start thinking about legacies, you take stock of your accomplishments and lessons learned. You take stock not only of the past, but what you are doing now and what you still hope to do. We, at Omron Microscan, continue the legacy. The yet-to-be-released HAWK MV-4000 smart camera is designed to come into play in applications requiring extreme power, and it has been built not only to compete, but to beat the rest of competitive smart cameras. It is designed with a superior sensor set and accommodates C-mount lenses for the ultimate in flexible and high quality imaging. The HAWK MV-4000’s processing capabilities reach near-PC speeds, enabling the camera to keep up with line rates of up to 6,000 parts per minute and speeds of over 300 inches per second. It continues to provide the same simple integration, setup and programming experience as the MicroHAWK. The new HAWK MV-4000 is the “golden middle” in the Microscan’s machine vision suite of products that includes miniature MicroHAWK MV Smart Cameras at the lower price level and multi-cameraPC-Based vision systems at the higher end.
Introduction of the HAWK MV-4000 is a very important step completing our machine vision product circle and we are excited to introduce it at the upcoming ASSEMBLY show. If you are not in Chicago this week, please contact us to learn more about the new HAWK MV-4000 here and check our event schedule to visit product life demonstration. More to come!
Pic.3 The legacy continues.
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