Canada AI company Pleora Technologies which created GigE Vision, a standard for networking cameras and processing in industrial automation projects, joined the 2022 Canada Trade Office Taipei (CTOT) startup accelerator program, hoping to find strategic partners which are system integrators or hardware manufacturers and together expand its industrial automation markets in Asia.
In an interview with DIGITIMES, Pleora President Jonathan Hou pointed out that the company's no-code platform is highly flexible and will be able to simplify the digital transformation process of many manufacturing companies which seek to accelerate automation.
"We simplify AI and vision for manufacturers so they can more easily design and deploy simple apps to improve product quality and lower costs," said Hou.
Over the last couple of years, Pleora has expanded into different areas, including edge processing, no-code development, and decision-support systems for visual inspection and assembly applications. Hou stressed that Pleora's software-hardware integrated offering will allow customers to build their own automation apps by using their camera system and platform.
What has motivated Pleora's search for strategic partnerships here in Taiwan? "We look at Taiwan as a market where we can help manufacturers simplify their automation, and there are also lots of companies engaging in AI, IoT, edge devices, and industrial automation that we can partner with on projects in the region," Hou said. They look for partners which build industrial computers and all the way to companies that are providing servers for AI training because part of Pleora's platform for no-code automation includes an AI component.
"When we provide our solutions, we make recommendations for the servers, desktop PCs and other components so manufacturers have the optimal technologies for training, deployment, and production," Hou said. He expects there will be an opportunity to partner with the hardware providers and let Pleora's software solution help add value as a combined solution that's ready to go for the manufacturers so that they don't have to go and find different solutions and put everything together.
Pleora is also looking for system integrators as partners to help small and medium manufacturing customers deploy AI inspection capabilities, including building customized apps for their unique requirements.
Digitization has become key to automation, and in turn affects the competitiveness of manufacturing firms in the time of labor shortage during pandemic lockdowns, a painful lesson learned by many manufacturers in Asia. Hou said Pleora deals with manufacturers who are building electronic assemblies, whether they're just the board-level products or fully assembled electronics, there are a lot of manual steps involved in those processes. There might be some automated machines that have certain parts of this process. Pleora's system offers AI-based decision-support apps to help human operators spot differences and deviations and gather data on manual processes. "Automation solves a lot of quality problems in electronics manufacturing, but there are still incoming, in-process, and final inspection steps that rely on human inspection," Hou explains. Anytime that a person touches or does a task around that job, there's always a risk that something may go wrong. "So we're really trying to protect companies by helping them digitize their operations from start to finish."
In the medical space, Pleora works with medical X-ray flat panel detector firms that are building X-ray devices for medical applications to perform scans. "It's similar to sensors and just like a camera, and they need high speed and reliability," Hou said. Pleora works with players in a trusted brand in the medical space, while Pleora is known for reliable high-speed video transmission.
"We provide our hardware and software technologies for companies that build X-ray devices to integrate into their systems. So that, they can get reliable network video and not have to worry about whether the frame is going to go missing on the network. We take care of all that for them," Hou said, brimming with confidence.
Pleora-visual inspection system