On 2 June 2022, phil-vision turned 5 years old!
For a company, we may still be quite young, but at the same time our experienced team has more than 125 years of cumulative machine vision and image processing experience.
Reason enough to take a look at the history and the people behind phil-vision.
The original idea for phil-vision was born during Gregor Philipiak's stay abroad for further studies in Portugal 2010-2012 but was sacrificed for a permanent position and an extremely interesting task in the field of soccer tracking. However, when this project was discontinued at the end of 2015, Gregor met with former colleagues who encouraged him that there was a great need for integrators who are able to implement complex machine vision tasks. As a result, phil-vision was launched as a one-man company in November 2015.
After studying electrical engineering, Patrick Gailer initially worked in product marketing, then "somehow" slipped into sales, and worked on countless image processing projects over the course of time. Since he always wanted to "implement solutions and not just talk about components", he was looking for a partner with similar interests. As he had already known Gregor for many years, the joint founding of a system integrator for challenging machine vision tasks was the logical consequence to provide customers with individual support and to develop custom-fit solutions for a wide variety of tasks. Together with him, Angelika Thoma also moved from a German camera manufacturer to phil-vision and in June 2017 the former one-man-show became phil-vision GmbH.
As "Chief Pixel Officer", Gregor's tasks since the beginning have mainly been around projectmanagement and development with a special focus on recording solutions and AI. When asked about the most interesting projects in recent years, he mentions soccer tracking and AI-based detection of birds of prey approaching wind turbines, but also inspection of electronic components and working with mechanical engineers in the industrial sector.
Gregor can also be called a news junkie; he is always up-to-date and constantly provides colleagues with the latest from around the world during lunch breaks.
Patrick's main tasks include customer communication, the design of system solutions and the selection of algorithms, and if time permits, he also likes to program solutions. When asked about the most challenging project phil-vision did so far, Patrick cites the output of gripping position and angle in board stacks as part of a project for automated wall production of prefabricated houses. "Each board, pulp or sheetrock wall is unique in this process and show tolerances exceeding the required positioning accuracy. At the same time, this automation requires an enormous degree of robustness and precision. We had to measure 4 cubic meters of volume to 0.1 mm accuracy in 3D within 8 seconds. The fact that this system has now been running without any problems for over a year has already, impressed me greatly."
What also impresses him is definitely whisky - at occasional tastings after good news/successful projects, etc., he lets the team share in this passion.
Angelika, our "Chief Light Bending Officer" is responsible for organizing company operations, administration and feasibility studies and explains to us how the somewhat different titles came about: "We didn't want any stiff business titles that you usually hear. Nevertheless, each title also describes what each of us does: for example, I "bend the light" in feasibility studies, so that our customers get the solution they need."
An assessment center in an Escape Room also shows phil-vision's slightly different approach to a wide variety of areas.
Christian wrote his diploma thesis in 2014 at the chair of image processing and the topic has stuck with him ever since. He joined phil-vision in 2018 and is mainly involved in programming the solutions, using various libraries in programming languages such as Python, C++ and C#. Through a previous job, he also has many years of experience with Halcon, which he uses in many projects. Additionally, he deals with the design of complete systems and the interaction of the components.
Peter, our "oldie" is a swabian mechanical engineer with a heavy bias towards software and electronics. He has many years of experience in measuring and testing technology and has been working with machine vision since the nineties. At phil-vision, he fills the gap between machine and system builders and image processing hardware and software, and is primarily responsible for mechanical and electrical connections, as well as software interfaces.
In 2020 we got female reinforcement in software development with Katja. Our "youngest" deals with image processing in general, stereo reconstruction with C++ / Halcon / OpenCV and the development of GUIs.
In her spare time, she is not only into sports, but also into baking and regularly provides the team with delicious cakes.
Christian and Peter are the company's coffee experts and test new varieties almost weekly, which they then devotedly grind by hand and expertly assess, but unfortunately mostly without letting their colleagues share in the pleasure. :-)
The last additions in 2021, Astrid and Rupert, came from a large pan-European machine vision distributor with whom phil-vision has been working successfully since its foundation. Reason enough to ask Rupert what attracted him to switch from a large to a small company?
"I was particularly attracted to designing solutions in a team, because the larger the company, the more abstract tasks become in some areas. In the end, the proximity to machine vision and the dynamics of the team convinced me."
Of course, in a smaller company you have a rather broad field of tasks and cannot specialize so narrowly. However, that suits the two of them very well. “The tasks here are very varied and exciting. The close cooperation in the team and the proximity to the customer are central elements and a lot of fun."
The machine vision market is constantly on the move. We are currently seeing significant consolidation in the market, which affects the entire value chain. We see ourselves as a medium-sized competence partner in all areas of image processing. Ideally, we can use our know-how in several pillars profitably for our customers and ourselves by, for example, implementing demanding machine and computer vision projects with/for our customers, as we are already doing today, but also by offering vertical off-the-shelf solutions.
If you ask the colleagues what they find so great about phil-vision, they all find the versatile tasks of a young company particularly interesting and of course the opportunity to expand their knowledge in many different areas. The constant new challenges that must be solved in a small company also contribute to a varied job. But all this only works in a team and a pleasant, motivating, and an interesting working environment is always an important part, now and in the future.
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