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Sony CCD Discontinuation: "We will serve our customers in the long term"

Four weeks after Sony’s first announcement of its intention to stop production of CCD sensors, Michael Cyros, Chief Commercial Officer of Allied Vision, has gained more insights on the consequences for Allied Vision and its customers.

Mike, is there anything new about Sony’s discontinuation of CCD sensors?
Since Sony announced their intention to stop production of CCD sensors, we have had intense discussions with them to evaluate and minimize the impact of this decision for our customers.

The good news is that Sony has acknowledged that they should have a differentiated approach for each sensor model depending on the expected demand in the mid and long term. As a result, Sony has decided to extend the availability of their most popular CCD sensors by five additional years until March 2026. Other sensors will be available from Sony until March 2020. This means that we can build inventory as needed until those dates and deliver cameras even after that.
This is great news for us and our customers and confirms what we had anticipated: we will definitely be able to serve our customers with Sony CCD-based cameras in the long term.

Which sensors will be available until 2026 and which until 2020 only?
We do have a preliminary indication from Sony but they have requested us to maintain this as confidential until they reach a final decision, so I cannot disclose any details at the moment. What I can say is that according to our first evaluation, most of our current CCD camera models use sensors that will be available until 2026. With Sony’s detailed information, our sales managers will be able to provide our customers proper guidance and assistance depending on the sensors they use and their individual needs.

How can I be 100% sure as an Allied Vision customer that the cameras I need will be available in the long term?
Allied Vision will order the necessary CCD sensor quantities over the long term based on our experience and demand forecast and we are confident that we can deliver on this promise. However, we do not control the overall market demand, Sony capacities etc. so a limited risk remains. Therefore, I recommend any customer who requires 100% certainty to contact us so that we can negotiate a frame order for cameras or sensors. With such order (also known as blanket order), we can then provide a firm commitment by contract that we will deliver the cameras they need in the timeframe they need.


What if I cannot plan exactly the quantities I’ll need until 2020 and beyond?
We do understand that it is not easy for all to commit to volumes precisely up to five years and more in advance. Obviously, we do not need such an accurate forecast for smaller volumes. This is rather meant for larger customers who need a reliable supply of large quantities of cameras for their systems.
But even they may find it hard to commit on large volumes on such a time horizon. In any case, talk to Allied Vision! We can discuss a combination of firm commitment on a minimum requirement and an option on potential additional volumes.

Our customer’s forecasts are useful for us to evaluate the needed volumes as precisely as possible and consolidate them for Sony.

Assuming my camera builds on a sensor which will become obsolete in 2020. How can I secure camera deliveries beyond this date?
Even beyond Sony’s last shipment dates, we will not let our customers down. But we’ll definitely need a frame order so we can secure the necessary sensors before they are no longer available from Sony.
But in general, the bottom line is: Allied Vision customers can rely on us. We will continue being their trusted supplier of Sony CCD-based cameras in the years to come. Speak with your Allied Vision Sales Manager to find the individual solution that fits your needs!

What about Allied Vision’s CMOS strategy?
In addition to our ability to provide security for the CCD requirements of our customers, we continue to launch new camera models with the latest CMOS sensors. As I already mentioned in our last interview, Allied Vision had anticipated this trend before Sony’s announcement. We are working closely with all major sensor suppliers: Sony, CMOSIS, e2v, OnSemi,… and continue expanding our offering of further CMOS models in addition to those that have already been available for some time now. If you look at our latest camera introductions, almost all of them are CMOS-based. For example, the new Mako USB3 Vision models we just announced at Vision China all have CMOS sensors.

The machine vision business of our customers is largely a capital equipment system business and therefore our customers and end users need stability because their systems have a long life cycle. This is why we are doing both at the same time: implementing CMOS sensors for the present and the future but also securing CCD sourcing for those customers who have designed CCD cameras into their systems already. So we are well prepared for the future, whether your future is CMOS or CCD, and appreciate that our customers rely on us to be a trusted long term supplier.

 

In short:

  • Allied Vision will deliver Sony CCD-based cameras for the long term.
  • Customers can secure large volumes by contract by placing frame orders.
  • Customers may take options on additional volumes for business they cannot forecast with certainty.
  • Any supply beyond 2020/2026 (depending on sensor model) can only be guaranteed with a corresponding frame order
  • Allied Vision will keep expanding its CMOS-based camera portfolio to enable customers to make a smooth and controlled transition in the mid and long term.