Ximea Corp. holds a large share of the vision and imaging market by manufacturing some of the smallest cameras in the world..
Ximea may have grown into an international player in the industrial vision and imaging technology industry in just four years, but that doesn’t mean the company has become a huge conglomerate without the personal touch. Instead, CEO Mike Bode says Ximea Corp. works to maintain its reputation as a startup with an entrepreneurial attitude.
“The company’s roots are as a small company with a largely academic customer base and the corporate culture of a research laboratory,” Bode says. “While the company has grown significantly in the recent past, we have maintained a spirit of open communication and the dynamics of a research lab. This permits us to adjust to new technologies and develop new products very quickly.”
Although the Ximea brand has been in the market for just four years, the company can trace its roots back more than two decades as its predecessor began producing digital cameras under the name “SoftHard.”
Back then, these cameras were used mostly in products that were branded and marketed by other companies.
In 2010, Ximea Corp. decided to enter the market with its own brand of cameras, specializing in industrial and scientific applications.
Today, Ximea’s product line consist of highquality cooled and uncooled scientific chargedcouple device (CCD) cameras, small and fast USB2 and USB3 CMOS cameras for industrial applications, and CCD cameras with USB3 connectivity. The company is preparing to launch its next generation of products – Peripheral Component Interconnect Express (PCIe) and Thunderbolt cameras for higher bandwidth and speed.
“Since its inception, Ximea has been at the leading edge of developments and innovations in the industrial field,” Bode says. “After the initial entry into the industrial market in 2010, Ximea has consistently set the standard for camera products in the field due to innovative design, high-quality products and last, but not least, leading-edge technology.
“Our products are consistently rated highest in quality, value and craftsmanship,” Bode adds. “Ximea has established itself as one of the premier companies for imaging products.”
More Vision, Fewer Complications
As in almost every sector of the vision and imaging industry, customers continue to demand products that are “bigger and faster,” according to Bode. In the industrial camera business, this means more pixels, higher frame rate, lower weight and fewer parts.
“We have met the challenges head on and offer some of the smallest and lightest cameras in the business, as well as the fastest cameras – and some with very high resolution,” Bode says. “It is not always possible, of course, to meet all these specs at the same time, but we have developed a range of cameras to meet these requirements.”
For example, Ximea’s xiMU camera series features five-megapixel resolution in a tiny housing at a weigh of just over 4 grams. The company also is introducing 12- and 20-megapixel cameras using a 20-gigabits-per-second PCIe connection, which allows the device to read the 12-megapixel sensor with up to 100 frames per second. This technology – known as the xiB line of Ximea’s cameras – allows signals to pass over distances of 100 yards and more via optical fibers. This opens new markets for industrial cameras, according to Bode.
“We also manufacture most of our cameras on a single board, which offers great benefits for customers who want to implement the cameras in their own devices,” Bode says. “A single board is much easier to handle than a stack of multiple boards.”
Ximea Corp. has plans to keep its meteoric rise in the vision and imaging industry going by expanding its operations as necessary. The company just finished a new production facility for the cameras and future expansions are planned. The company also is constantly evaluating and improving its products, which thus far has resulted in the addition of more sensors and data transmission protocols to improve usability and applicability of the cameras.
For example, Bode says Ximea is exploring and developing cameras based on Thunderbolt, which will offer easy and fast connectivity to Windows and OSX-based computers. The company also is expanding its support of the ARM processor line for low-cost and low-power applications. Even with extensive R&D and facility expansion projects on the horizon, Ximea manages to keep its prices reasonable for clients. While other vision and imaging companies may be able to compete with Ximea in certain areas, Bode says they won’t match the prices.