Updated Website, New Pixid 500 Alignment Systems

Pixid 500 Active Alignment System

Pixid 500 Active Alignment System

Our technologies and products are constantly evolving, so it was just about time we updated our website to reflect our latest and greatest offerings.  Kasalis has been working hard on its new alignment systems and software, which are now available and profiled on the updated website at www.kasalis.com.  Most notably, we have a new model in production, the Pixid 500, which is a high volume, automated active alignment system that offers a higher UPH for narrow FOV optics.

There will be more updates to the website and blog shortly, as we are busily designing a new office space.  The excitement in the office is building for our big move to a new, customized, and larger office.  Sales of the Pixid 500, in addition to our signature Pixid 300, are driving growth and increasing technical requirements. We will be incorporating special features into the new office space to accommodate our customers and our newest technologies. Stay tuned.

And please, in the meantime, don’t forget to check out our latest at www.kasalis.com.

The Internet of Things: Optics Opportunities

The Internet of Things (IoT) represents a vast array of opportunities for optics given the sheer number of technologies that will be connected to the internet in the future. From wearables to home monitoring systems, and from the tiniest camera modules to gesture recognition optics, the highest quality components will be in demand for groundbreaking technologies in our networked future.  In burgeoning healthcare, automotive, smart homes, and communication developments, exciting challenges await for our optics assembly equipment and, of course, the entire manufacturing sector.

Smart car, smart phone, smart watch, drone

The Internet of Things (IoT) will drive future growth. (Source: Jabil)

The Internet of Things is poised to be a major driver of economic growth in the near future. Cisco predicts that by 2020 there will be 50 billion things connected to the Internet, generating revenues of more than $19 trillion. However, building the IoT up to that level will not be a simple task.

In April 2015, Jabil sponsored a Dimensional Research global survey of more than 300 supply chain professionals at companies that manufacture electronics goods. While 75 percent of those surveyed are planning, developing or producing IoT-related products, 77 percent admit they lack the expertise in-house needed to deliver them.  That shows there are some major knowledge gaps that must be filled, but once they are, there is great potential for producing new internet-enabled products and services.

Those surveyed saw value in using data from the IoT to drive product innovation.  About half of them believed that data gathered from the IoT could potentially help in: delivering new product capabilities; creating new products, services, or business models; understanding failures to improve quality; and measuring feature usage to inform user design.  It is an exciting time for the Internet of Things as we look toward the future.  We at Kasalis hope to contribute meaningfully to the digital integration of the world around us.

Lean Manufacturing at Kasalis

Kasalis has always operated with efficiency and purpose, but in recent months, has been implementing a continuous improvement plan using Lean and Six Sigma principles.  Now that the company is growing and expanding its operations significantly, the team is dedicating itself to scaling up gracefully, using insightful planning, organizing, and operating tools.

5s-kasalis-webAmong other things, we have adopted the 5S Strategy on our manufacturing floor: sort, set, shine, standardize, and sustain.  This system is intended to streamline our manufacturing process by reducing wasted time and maintaining a highly organized environment with consistent, quality-driven operational results.  The goal is to optimize our camera module assembly and other manufacturing operations.

Kasalis is committed to delivering the highest quality products, services, and customer support processes in the industry. Our ultimate goal is to create and maintain a workforce of analytical people, in which everyone is focused on continually driving improvements in quality, delivery and cost.  The company puts emphasis on innovative thinking and an open, collaborative environment. To learn more, see the new Lean Manufacturing page on the Kasalis website.

Kasalis Completes Move to New Global Headquarters

Empty clean room

One yet-to-be-filled clean room area.

Our camera module alignment equipment operations are expanding – Kasalis has happily moved to a spacious new office that artfully reflects its innovative spirit. The new space, designed with a creative, industrial edge to foster a highly inspired work environment, is just down the street from our old digs.  We are now at 37 North Ave, and are thrilled to be offering our customers significantly increased capacity and technical support.

We are very pleased to occupy a space that fully reflects our company culture, with interesting angles, bold pops of color, and modern photographic panels. Through careful planning and design, we have created an office that will see us through to the next level of production of our Pixid active alignment systems.  With a huge cleanroom, bright offices, and ample meeting spaces, this office is an ideal match for our needs.

Office image

The hallway from our offices to the clean room.

Kasalis expects further growth in 2014 and looks forward to filling up the open spaces in our new worldwide headquarters building. Here, in our new home, our current and future employees will contribute to our groundbreaking products, strategic approach, and skillful technical assembly.

 

Backup Camera Law and Challenges for Manufacturing

A few weeks ago, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), after much delay, passed a law requiring backup cameras in cars. It will, first and foremost, improve safety, particularly for the small children who cannot be seen without them and are the victims of thousands of backup accidents annually. Backup cameras have proven very effective in studies, beating out parking sensors and other machine vision methods in effectively preventing crashes.

backup-cam

Photo: NHTSA

We want to know what this all means for car manufacturers and, of course, camera manufacturers (our customers) who will soon be producing and assembling cameras to meet a growing demand as they ramp up to May of 2018, when all new cars will be required to have them.

Already many car manufacturers have included backup cameras as an option or standard in new car models. The NHTSA said there will be requirements governing image size, linger time, response time, durability, and deactivation, but the most important was simply the ability to see in a 10-foot by 20-foot zone directly behind the vehicle. But perhaps there should also be a requirement for camera clarity? Car makers say their main challenge is integrating the screen into the dashboard, but with so many cars already offering a backup camera system, it’s clear they have already found some solutions.

The main challenge we see is that the obligatory 10 by 20 foot visible zone definitely requires a wide angle or fish eye camera module. Therefore, these automotive backup cameras must certainly be assembled using active alignment so that the outside edges of the resulting image are in focus. Otherwise, the safety measure will be compromised.

The good news for us is that we will be working hard on our productsPixid Systems – so that they will produce the best backup cameras possible, with no fuzzy imaging areas around the edges.  We can see now that backup cameras are here to stay; we know that our company is contributing to automotive safety through our work to create rearview cameras with optimized clarity. We hope that more innovation in the automotive world, including the head-up displays that project information onto the windshield, will improve driving safety even further.

 

Camera Modules Galore: Kasalis Excited for Bigger Office

Kasalis is buzzing with talk of moving to our new office, which is currently being renovated to suit camera module alignment equipment manufacturing and our growing number of employees.  Crowding into the current office has become a necessity, to the point of putting desks in the printer room, so everyone is thrilled that we’ll soon have a new, and much bigger, office.

Our interior design team is developing some cutting-edge features that will reflect the innovative  and industrial feeling we want in the office.  There will be clear acrylic photo panels, colorful accents, and unique light fixtures to warm up the rooms.

The new office space includes an open work area with natural light, new clean room, reception area, and plenty of offices that will house our management team and employees.  The space also includes a kitchen with ample eating space, two large conference rooms, and additional meeting areas throughout.

Moving day should happen sometime in April, so we will post an announcement, photos, and our new address when it’s ready.

Smartphone Cameras Win: Point-and-Shoot Cameras See Precipitous Fall

While many have expected a continued downfall in point-and-shoot camera sales, it has become very clear that 2013 was a true turning point for these cameras.  Having experienced plunging sales – global shipments were down 42% in the first five months of 2013 – the leading camera makers are scrambling to streamline product lines and compete with the convenience of smartphone cameras.  Industry giants Canon and Nikon have both revised their sales forecasts significantly for this year – Canon by a full 10 percent.  However, while Canon and Nikon are fortunate to have some sales, since both offer top digital SLR models that don’t compete directly with smartphone cameras, others are not so lucky. One analyst predicted that the Olympus brand might disappear altogether this year, citing its measly 7% market share, failure to generate a profit in any of the past three years, and a grim outlook for the coming year, particularly because the company’s main camera segment is compact cameras, which are in direct competition with smartphones.

Smartphone Cameras Continue to Skyrocket

While traditional camera manufacturers are not thrilled with the growth in smartphone popularity, consumers with increasingly busy lifestyles are grateful for one gadget that is multi-functional.  Sales growth has been steady (see image below).

Graph of IDC Smartphone and Digital Camera salesGiven the clear dominance of the smartphone camera for everyday photos, companies are now pushing the envelope within that market.  Amazon is rumored to have in development a
3D phone
which uses four cameras that track eye and head movements to make the screen appear three dimensional.  Samsung has been developing its ISOCELL technology to improve color and image quality, and recently introduced a 13MP camera.

Better Smartphone Cameras on the Rise

What will we find in our cameras next?  The possibilities are phenomenal.  While at Kasalis our technology drives active alignment to become an essential component in competitive camera modules, others will be developing gesture recognition, 3D imaging, and amazing mobile photography apps.  What do you see happening in your personal camera use?  Is your smartphone taking over?  Either way, the next generation of smartphone camera will undoubtedly be thrilling for photographers on the move, and will probably, in the end, deliver the knock-out blow to the point-and-shoot era.

Action Camera Race: Contenders Revving Their Engines

The race is heating up for action cameras – the waterproof, mountable kind that is found in many an extreme athlete’s hand or, more precisely, on a helmet or surfboard.  While GoPro is the industry leader, competition has become increasingly fierce.  In the past month, Toshiba and Garmin each announced an entry into the race, Toshiba with its Camileo X sports camera, and Garmin with its GPS-equipped VIRB camera.  Sony also unveiled a new, sleeker model of its Action Cam, which now offers GPS.  Other action camera manufacturing companies in the mix include the Contour, Swann, and Drift Innovation.

action camera image of skier

Action camera shot of a skier taken with a helmet-mounted GoPro camera.

These POV cameras, ruggedly built, have gained a spectacular following, due in no small part to the extreme sports enthusiasts who first embraced the GoPro cameras and who never hesitate to show off their bold adventures by sharing the videos with gusto on social media.  Legions of fans were inspired by these first-movers to purchase video camera toys of their own, and thus, a new niche market was born.

What is next for action cameras?  These compact cameras are quickly advancing in terms of image quality, functional technology, and overall capabilities.  It seems GPS is a new feature focus, along with streamlined design and improved photographic performance.  While the cameras are still improving, some think that they might be overcome by a different product all together.  For instance, in this Wired post, one staffer even decided that Google Glass would soon be advanced enough to replace existing action cameras with one worn on the face – a disruptive theory that, while interesting, doesn’t account for the need for a more rugged camera for the athletes that might plunge into the drink or the powder while recording, losing or smashing the Google Glass.

In any case, the customers in this growing segment truly value the quality of their filming and undoubtedly appreciate a camera aligned with precision so they can produce images with excellent clarity.  Action cameras in particular are fantastic candidates for active alignment because of the challenges in obtaining uniform focus in a wide angle application.  Whether you make action cameras, security cameras, or automotive cameras, please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have questions about active alignment and its advantages in your camera module alignment, assembly, and testing – it might just differentiate your product from the competition.