Factories worldwide are adopting automation technologies, and the lucrative opportunities across multiple industries contribute to the exponential growth of 3D machine vision technology. As one of the world's largest adopters of robots and robotic processes, China accounted for a huge market base for 3D machine vision. This article will mainly examine 6 representative 3D machine vision companies in China, hoping to provide insights into this prosperous market.
What is 3D Machine Vision Technology?
3D machine vision systems refer to technologies that generate 3-dimensional images of an object, which is achieved mainly through 4 forms of technology: Stereo Vision, Time of Flight (ToF), Laser Triangulation (3D Profiling), and Structured Light.
The 3D machine vision system equips machines with real-time vision, thus enabling them to replace redundant manual tasks such as inspection, positioning, measurement, and identification. To some extent, 3D machine vision performs better than the human eye in high-speed production lines and hazardous environments, leading to fewer human errors, boosted productivity, reduced machine downtime, and tighter process control.
3D machine vision technology is frequently utilized across pharmaceutical, consumer goods, semiconductors, automotive, medical devices, and other industrial verticals owing to abilities such as dimensional gauging, robotic guidance, and accurate component measuring. The 3D machine vision technology market is segmented into hardware and software by offering. Based on product, the market is segmented into PC-based and intelligent camera-based. Based on application, the market is segmented into identification, positioning, measurement and detection.
Key Players of the industry
There are 854 machine vision companies in China by the end of 2021, and roughly 400 of them are domestic brands. 3D machine vision companies whose primary business is machine vision software algorithms have the highest growth rate. This article analyzes 6 companies in the 3D machine vision industry: SENAD, Percipio.XYZ, LINX ROBOT, SSZN, Speedbot, XYZ Robotics, Aviatech and Alsontech.
Founded in 2012 and headquartered in Shanghai, SENAD positioned itself as a provider of intelligent warehousing automation solutions based on 3D machine vision systems. SENAD has completed two funding rounds, the latest one in September 2021.
SENAD currently only provides standardized products to the market without being involved in the turnkey business. SENAD leverages machine vision deep learning algorithms, robotic motion control technology, image processing algorithms, artificial intelligence and pattern recognition to provide the required flexibility and free-navigation capability for logistics industries.
SENAD's service includes providing solutions for DWS, product separation, identifying labels, and unpacking robots. SENAD's customers include JD Logistics, Cainiao Smart Logistics Network Limited and Sto Express. E-commerce customers include Poizon, Vipshop Holdings Limited and Be & Cheery, covering 90% of domestic logistics companies. SENAD also exported its Product to America, Germany, Britain, Canada, Chile and other European countries
SENAD has established strategic cooperation with Tongji University, which has set up a training base in SENAD to deliver exceptional talent. Such collaboration made it possible for SENAD to have technology breakthroughs constantly, contributing to better 3D machine vision products and solutions for the industry
Founded in 2017 and headquartered in Hangzhou, Linxrobot is a high-tech company focusing on 3D machine vision systems and hardware. It completed the series B+ financing round in July 2022, and the total amount of the previous 6 funding rounds are worth more than hundreds of millions of CNY.
Linxrobot has a solid technology background: all R&D (research and development) team core members are Ph.D. graduates from top universities such as Peking University and Zhejiang University. Additionally, they all have more than ten years of R&D experience in robotics, computer vision and automation equipment, which explains why Linxrobot possesses more than 40 patents and 10 software copyrights.
Linxrobot features 3D vision technology in both hardware and software. Based on advanced 3D vision technology, Linxrobot offers reliable automation solutions for customers and are highly appraised by many. It combines industrial automation arms with 3D vision technology to serve various industries, which include warehousing, logistics, manufacturing and the lithium battery industry.
After years of accumulation, Linxrobot has established deep partnerships with several leading companies in the logistics industry as well as the lithium battery industry, such as JD Logistics, New Trend International Logis-tech, and Ruipu Lanjun Energy. According to Leiyu, the vice president of the marketing department, Linxrobot adopts a “direct marketing” strategy, contributing to the accumulation of high-quality solutions with wider coverage scenarios in the industry. Additionally, higher customer satisfaction rates and repurchase behaviors are achieved with lower marketing costs.
According to Ding Ding, the founder of Linxrobot, the total income of Linxrobot exceeded CNY 100 million in 2021, which would double in 2022. Linxrobot will maintain the high investment in R&D and introduce easier-to-use, standardized, and modular products for the 3D machine vision industry.
Founded in 2011 and headquartered in Shanghai, Percipio.XYZ is a cutting-edge company specializing in industrial-grade 3D machine vision products. It officially announced the completion of the series B2 funding round in September 2021 and has completed a total of 6 funding rounds.
The R&D team members of Percipio.XYZ Technology comes from top universities or institutions such as Jiaotong University, Fudan University, Huawei, Microsoft and ARM. Fei Zheping, the founder of Percipio.XYZ graduated from Fudan University and was the first employee of ARM in the Chinese area.
With excellent technology background and strong development capability, Percipio.XYZ Technology has developed the PIPC-S1 computing platform, RVS intelligent 3D vision software and a series of powerful 3D machine vision cameras, serving hundreds of domestic companies. Some of Percipio.XYZ Technology's customers include ABB, JD Logistics, Shandong New Beiyang Information Technology, SF Express and Korea Post.
Feizheping, the founder of Percipio.XYZ stated that 3D machine vision companies often must choose between dedicating themselves to specific industries or providing more companies with fewer customization products. Percipio.XYZ chose the last module and has successfully developed a "key component-based" business model, providing reliable industrial cameras and related products for customers from different fields. Percipio.XYZ plans to expand its customer base and continue to refine its current technology and production process in the next 2-3 years to expand the business map.
Founded in 2018 and headquartered in Hunan, Speedbot specializes in vision-guided intelligent robots. The most recent funding round of Speedbot was worth USD 47.3 million and happened in March 2022. Before that, Speedbot completed 5 funding rounds.
Speedbot also has a fantastic R&D team, constituted by PHDs from Princeton, Columbia University, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, University of Bonn (Germany), Technical University of Munich, and the National University of Defense Technology. In addition, the annual investment in R&D accounts for over 50% of its total revenue.
With years of accumulation in computer vision, robotics, 3D graphics, cloud computing and big data, research results of Speedbot have reached the international leading level and won several national technology awards. Speedbot currently possesses 75 patents and more than 30 software copyrights. The pace of submitting more patent applications has no sign of slowing down, ensuring its technical advantage in the 3D machine vision industry.
The company develops vision-guided intelligent robots integrating 3D visual perception and flexible robotic control, empowering robots with smart vision and brain and developing vision-guided smart and flexible robots targeting challenging application scenarios in manufacturing, logistics and retailing. It is alleged that Speedbot achieved over 10 times revenue growth in 2021.
Founded in 2018 and headquartered in Shanghai, Aviatech dedicating to 3D visual perception AI chips and intelligent image recognition technology. Aviatech announced the completion of two financing rounds, and the latest one happened in July 2021.
Aviatech's strategy has been developing a "3D vision chips+ software" business map since its establishment. Aviatech insisted on self-developing all the products without relying on importation, which is manifested by the fact that nearly 80% of Aviatech employees are technicians, and the total investment in R&D activities has exceeded 100 million.
The company provides 3D machine vision intelligence modular hardware and software open platform, covering scenarios such as intelligent security, robotics, intelligent hardware, machine vision, and new retail. There are three significant advantages of Aviatech. First of all, the performance of Aviatech's 3D image AI chip is significantly better than other products in the market in terms of processing speed and energy saving. Secondly, Aviatech's underlying algorithm of 3D hardware is extremely powerful, especially with its 3D hardware acceleration engine. Last but not least, Aviatech's SDK platform could function perfectly with IOS, Windows and Linux operating systems, saving customers extra time for adjustments.
Aviatech has established strategic cooperation with upstream and downstream companies of the 3D machine vision industry, such as Shenzhen State Micro Technology, Sunny Optical Technology, Wingtech Technology, Neo Telemedia Ltd, Quectel Wireless Solutions and Robotbona.
Founded in 2014, Alsontech is China's earliest manufacturer of 3D machine vision applications. It completed 2 financing rounds, the latest one in July 2022.
As one of China's earliest 3D machine vision companies, Alsontech deeply realized the importance of maintaining product and technology originality. Alsontech has over 100 employees, with over 70 R&D talents specializing in 3D vision hardware design, imaging algorithms, AI technology, optical devices and related technologies. Through continuous technical accumulation, Alsontech obtained over 100 patents and software copyrights, winning several industry awards. Its 3D vision sensor could achieve an accuracy of ±0.03mm and function between 0-50 degrees, providing 3D measurements in an unstructured and dynamic environment. Most importantly, Alsontech has successfully delivered thousands of 3D vision products to industrial customers, enabling quick and precise real-time 3D detection and enhancing the accuracy and efficiency of automated decision-making. Many world's top 500 users have recognized Alsontech's products, such as Jingdong, Nissan, Haier, Tesla and Toyota.
Alsontech has set up regional service centers in Zhengzhou, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Beijing and its product sales network covers China, Japan, Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, Germany and other overseas regions.
Looking into the future
China is a country that offers extensive opportunities and abundant application scenarios for 3D machine vision, which has the potential to be a game-changing technology in multiple industries. The public witnessed rising Chinese government initiatives to advance and endorse 3D machine vision technologies. For instance, the Chinese government catapults investments and encourages different players to establish their production units in China.
Additionally, many high-end manufacturing industries, such as semiconductors, new energy vehicles, and aerospace, raised higher product quality requirements and invested heavily in superior quality control systems for error reduction and minimizing labor costs, which could also propel the growth of the 3D machine vision industry. However, domestic 3D machine vision companies' hardware development needs to be improved compared with some foreign companies, such as Cognex and Keyence. Insufficient hardware development could be a restraining factor that obstructs smooth market growth in the long run. Several companies mentioned above put great efforts into exploring various 3D machine applications in recent years, aiming to bring truly "smart" visual functionalities to automated processes. This, in turn, is expected to result in the wider acceptance of 3D machine vision systems.