On June 7, 2017, Maker Group were exclusively informed that the company “Suzhou RSOPTO Optoelectronics Technology Co., Ltd.”, which is engaged in the research and development of automatic optical inspection (AOI) equipment, has confirmed that it has been invested by Shunrong Financing, Suzhou Guofa Ventures and Investment. The tens of millions of RMB investment is the first round of external financing of the company.
Xu Zhaolin, the founder, said that “RSOPTO Optoelectronics” is a well-funded enterprise with good cash flow. It chose Shunrong Financing and Suzhou Guofa’s investment, mainly to look at the relevant resources behind the investors and hope to introduce investors. Further standardize the company's operations and pave the way for future company listings.
Zhang Ming, vice president of GP Shunrong, said that Automated Optical Inspection (AOI) is an advantageous investment area, in which Shunrong has invested in four companies, one of which has been listed on the backdoor and the has already filed for an IPO. There are several reasons for choosing RSOPTO: 1. RSOPTO has strong technical strength in the field of automatic optical inspection of LCD screens. The identification algorithm and the underlying architecture are all developed independently. The product performance indicators are mostly in the domestic market. 2. Optimistic about the market of LCD automatic optical inspection equipment, the trend of artificial replacement of machines in this field is very obvious; 3, RSOPTO's technology is highly expandable, and can be involved in visual inspection in other fields than LCD screen in the future.
Suzhou RSOPTO Optoelectronics Technology Co., Ltd. was established in March 2010. It is a research and development company specializing in the development, production and sales of automatic inspection systems for optoelectronic related fields. The products are mainly used in the LCD screen industry, automatic optical inspection equipment for the entire industry chain, including array, cell, module, and testing equipment for key parts.
rior to starting a business, Xu Zhaolin worked as a quality manager for LCD screen manufacturing related foreign companies and the world's top medical equipment companies, with an annual salary of 500,000.
But a phenomenon that occurred in the LCD screen industry for quality naked-eye inspections made him hard to sleep: the probability of glaucoma for workers who worked continuously for four years was almost 100%.
"To some extent, at the expense of employee health, the benefits of the company are exchanged. This is the normal state of labor-intensive manufacturing. Even smart equipment companies are no exception." Xu felt that it was time to do something to change the status quo.
Given his experience of medical device industry, through the cross-border medical imaging, Xu discovered that the eye's bio-simulation technology provides the possibility to solve this problem.
Like the application of some automated processing equipment can greatly reduce the workload of workers, Xu hopes to develop a professional and reliable automatic testing equipment to reduce the intensity of inspectors. So, since 2007, he began to ponder the development of this system.
"At the beginning, I invested more than 700,000 yuan in savings. Later I sold the house and took 1.3 million into it." With a salary of 500,000 yuan, Xu, who cares about the health of the workers, stepped on the unknown road of entrepreneurship without hesitation.
But Xu’s work is too difficult, and there is no such thing as a “trillion market story”. Few people will be dumb enough to do this with him, so he does almost everything himself. Until 2009, the first prototype was finally formed. Xu has this confidence.
One evening, Xu invited a table of banquets. Some of the key talents he had already “phased in” were some of his colleagues, and some of them met in long-term foreign cooperation. He plans to "take down" these people tonight and persuade them to start a business with themselves.
After few rounds of drinking, Xu said: "I have resigned, and I have no place to live. Would you like to help your brother?" This is not an easy answer for everyone with decent income. However, Xu’s “good to say” was able to stand. On the second day, most of them gave up the superior work and submitted resignation.
A person's business may be based on ideals but if a group of people start something, it must depend on the market.
Behind the reason Xu is able to attract a group of technology experts to join, is the burgeoning AOI (automatic optical inspection) market, and Xu ius exactly fit to this market.
With the miniaturization and low energy consumption of electronic products, the components of their products tend to be miniaturized, and the error of human eye detection will become higher and higher during the assembly process; on the other hand, with the higher labor costs to meet the demand for product quality and cost control, electronic manufacturing companies will accelerate the process of replacing AOI testing equipment.
In this environment, global and Chinese automatic optical inspection equipment will experience rapid development in the next few years. In 2015, China's automatic optical inspection equipment market has reached 7.62 billion yuan, accounting for 20.9% of the global AOI market size. It is estimated that the average annual compound growth rate of China's AOI market will reach 16.8% in 2014-2018.
In this wave of opportunities, RSOPTO has already taken the lead.
After nearly 7 years of basic research and development and continuous improvement, RSOPTO's products have gradually matured. The overall recognition error rate is only half of the human eye detection. The recognition time is 1 minute for the human eye and 6 seconds for the machine. The company completed two important “firsts” in 2015: the first single equipment exceeded 2 million, and the first single order exceeded 10 million. In 2016, RSOPTO's products were sold to top customers including Samsung, Huaying, and Xinli. In 2017, RSOPTO's sales target has been set at 1.5 billion, and savings orders have exceeded 300 million.
However, RSOPTO's products are far more than simple detection functions, but more intelligent equipment. Xu said: "The system we developed will collect and analyze the test data, accurately determine the process problems of the product manufacturing, and timely feedback to the operators so that not only can quality be monitored, but quality can be improved."
In the case of the LCD optical screen automatic optical detection field almost dominated the market, Xu also admitted that the company is now in an industry outbreaking period, the industry may encounter market bottlenecks in the next 3-5 years, must be prepared for the storm. “If you simply use a single automatic detection device, the market space is limited, so you must find a new way out and product application direction.” Xu knows that the company’s sales will exceed 1 billion, and it is necessary to learn from Israel’s Orbotech and strive to become a horizontal machine vision leader across multiple industries.
Create an intelligent engine for the industry
To be a leader in the industry, you have to think about leading the industry.
Xu said that the current development of machine vision company mainly presents two development modes: first, using commercial software, such as halcon, visionPro, etc.; second, using open source software such as OPENCV to develop itself.
Although the first mode has the advantages of less development work and short cycle, there are several limitations: 1. Higher cost (software license fee); 2. Unable to solve many customer customization needs and industry-specific problems, poor applicability 3, the underlying technology (already packaged) is not available, the company does not have its own core technology.
Therefore, Xu decided to develop by himself. In the process, he found that even the use of open source software, due to lack of systemic and unified interface standards, still inefficient, repetitive development; poor maintainability of the project; hard to work together, knowledge, experience and code hard to be accumulated and quickly reused, etc.
These problems have hindered the transformation of RSOPTO from the "small workshop operation" to the "scale cooperative operation" mode. Therefore, he has begun to grasp the "product line layout of "RSOPTO Optoelectronics" own products and started an "ambition" plan: to create a "basic engine system" in the automatic optical inspection industry, a fundamental system based on industry experience, dedicated to the rapid expansion of knowledge, experience and code, rapidly expanding the basic system - machine vision basic engine.
As of now, this system has taken shape in the case of five years of technical accumulation and several times of reintroduction.
In fact, the value of this engine is not just that RSOPTO saw. But for many years, no one has done this well, because it is "too difficult and requires dedication."
But Xu is willing to do it.
In his mind, creating a platform-based technology company is a real dream compared to making quick money.
Disclaimer: This article was written by the author of Sohu. In addition to the official account of Sohu, the opinion only represents the author and does not represent Sohu’s position.
(Reprinted from Sohu.com)