The 20/20 on Machine Vision
We look at machine vision: what it is, how it functions in the future-facing industrial environment, and whether it’s right for your business.
2018 has been a big year for our business, exceeding our expectations with record project numbers. We’ve also welcomed a number of new team members as we expand our business and bring additional areas of focus in software, robotics and machine vision alongside our world-class custom equipment business.
It’s clear that with everything produced by Facteon, whether it’s a machined component or a fully automated, custom designed and built production line, the team is committed to completing this work to the highest standard.
This year we were proud to deliver a record number of lines and an increased variety of lines to our customers. A highlight is the delivery of six major production lines over this year for the laser welding of appliance drums as well as two robotic assembly and toxing lines. This has been a massive effort by our team, contractors, suppliers and the staff inside our customers’ organisations who played a role in making this happen.
In September of 2018, we unveiled a new brand for the business, Facteon. The rebrand has signalled a new direction for the business. Our previous focus has largely been appliance-centric with our historic connection to leading, global appliance manufacturers, Haier, Fisher & Paykel and GE Appliances. We are now working to apply our knowledge of intelligent manufacturing, flexible automation and Industry 4.0 to a wider range of industries and markets. This will have significant advantages for our existing and future customers as we’re able to leverage our knowledge of a wide range of industries and processes to cater to their specific manufacturing challenges.
In 2018, we implemented our first commercial installations of COSMOline, our intelligent manufacturing software product. COSMOline is a software solution built from the ground up to operate across all types of manufacturing operations, PLC technologies and equipment types. It gives operators an unparalleled view of their operations, turning their raw production and quality data into valuable information they can use to manage and improve their operations. In addition to this, it contains all the maintenance information, manuals and workorders staff need to manage their plant.
In 2019, our software team will be releasing a range of new features focusing on machine learning driven predictive functionalities and additional plug-and-play integrations with third-party systems as well as Industrial IoT hardware and smart sensors. We look forward to updating you further on this.
COSMOline also provides significant opportunities for the expansion of our equipment business. As our software team is working with external customers, we hope that our world-class, customised machinery offering can also be of benefit.
As part of our expansion we continue to add skills both inside our business and within our wider network. Of particular satisfaction for the team has been the growth of Facteon China where we not only support our customers in this market, but we are adding additional manufacturing, procurement and design capability.
We’ve recently announced our partnership with COSMA, a leading Italian manufacturer of flexible folding machines and customised automation solutions. Facteon will be the exclusive distributor of COSMA product in China.
Facteon China’s role is to provide integration services, installation and after-sales support to COSMA customers. This partnership has signaled a shift in the Facteon approach. We’re now actively seeking out and pursuing partnership opportunities. We see partnerships as an excellent way to quickly bring technology to our customers and to help other companies access markets they otherwise wouldn’t be able to on their own.
Another major step in expanding our China operation is the establishment of our WOFE in Huangdao. Over the coming months, we are seeking to engage a full complement of staff in the WOFE. Its establishment allows us to further cement our operations and position in the China market. We’re now able to contract direct under our own company name. This has been an important step in solidifying our ability to do business as Facteon. We also look to take on local, mid-range equipment projects in China while providing extensive staff training. Parallel to this, we also aim to lease our Huangdao, China Workshop. We’re excited to continue expanding our China operations in 2019 with the backing of our WOFE.
Whilst there are some clouds on the horizon for the global economy, we expect the market for automation to be as strong as ever, with an increased focus on the performance of industrial assets, flexibility and a practical approach to Industry 4.0 and intelligent manufacturing implementation.
Our focus for 2019 will be on continuing to provide the high-quality automation solutions which we’re known for but with an increasing focus on blending these with new technologies and capabilities in software, robotics and machine vision. We seek to transfer our knowledge of intelligent manufacturing, flexible automation and Industry 4.0 to a wide range of industries and markets. We will also continue to grow both our engineering capabilities here in New Zealand and our in-market resources as we seek to be close to our customers and support their operations.
Thanks again to our customers, suppliers, partners and team. Here’s to successful 2018 and we wish you all the best for the holiday season!