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Cognex Corporation provides machine vision products that capture and analyze visual information in order to automate manufacturing and distribution tasks worldwide. Its machine vision products are used to automate the manufacturing and tracking of discrete items, including mobile phones, aspirin bottles, and automobile tires by locating, identifying, inspecting, and measuring them during the manufacturing or distribution process. The company offers VisionPro software, a suite of patented vision tools for advanced programming; QuickBuild that allows customers to build vision applications with a graphical, flowchart-based programming interface; and Cognex deep learning vision software. It also provides a range of inspection tasks, including part location, identification, measurement, assembly verification, and robotic guidance; vision sensors for vision applications, such as checking the presence and size of parts; and the In-Sight product line of vision systems and sensors. In addition, the company offers DataMan, an image-based barcode readers and barcode verifiers. It sells its products to consumer electronics, automotive, consumer products, food and beverage, pharmaceuticals, and medical devices industries, as well as through a network of distributors and integrators. Cognex Corporation was incorporated in 1981 and is headquartered in Natick, Massachusetts.



Cognex Corporation was founded in 1981 by Robert J. Shillman, a lecturer in human visual perception at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and two MIT graduate students, Bill Silver and Marilyn Matz. Cognex stands for "Cognition Experts."The company's first vision system, DataMan, was introduced in 1982. DataMan was an optical character recognition system designed to read, verify, and assure the quality of letters, numbers, and symbols printed on products and components. The company's first customer was a typewriter manufacturer that purchased DataMan to read letters on typewriter keys and ensure that they were located in the correct position.

In 1989, Cognex went public on the NASDAQ exchange for $1.38 per share—within a year, the stock price had tripled.In 1995, Cognex purchased Acumen, a U.S. based developer of wafer identification systems.

In 2004, the company won an intellectual property victory when a federal judge ruled in Cognex's favor in a patent lawsuit brought against the estate of the inventor Jerome H. Lemelson, who had filed dozens of submarine patents, some of which purported to cover machine vision processes. The machine vision-related patents were held invalid. The ruling was upheld by the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.Cognex sold off its in-vehicle product in 2007, citing concerns about profitability and intellectual property issues.

In 2015 Cognex sold off its Surface Vision Division and the associated range of products SmartView , Vision Gear , Smart Advisor and VisionPro Surface to Ametek Inc. for approximately 160M US$. The sold division represented about 12% of Cognex in terms of revenue and number of employees.In April 2017 Cognex acquired ViDi Systems, a Swiss-based provider of deep learning software for industrial machine vision applications. In October 2019 Cognex acquired Sualab, a Korean-based developer of vision software using deep learning for industrial applications.During summer 2020 Cognex laid off 8% of its headcount . In December 2020 Cognex announced payment of $2 dividend per share. In the press release explaining this special dividend the chairman, Robert J. Shillman, referred to one of the company's mottos, to explain the highest dividend paid out in the company's history. This motto being: “When Cognex wins, we all win”.On February 11, 2021, Cognex announced the resignation of Robert Shillman from the company's board of directors and as an executive officer of Cognex, effective May 5, 2021.


Cognex's Corporate Donations Program reflects the company's philosophy of ""work hard, play hard, and stay healthy."" Each corporate gift supports a project in one of these three categories.


The world’s leading provider of vision systems, software, sensors, and industrial barcode readers used in manufacturing automation. Cognex vision helps companies improve product quality, eliminate production errors, lower manufacturing costs, and exceed consumer expectations for high quality products at an affordable price.Typical applications for machine vision include detecting defects, monitoring production lines, guiding assembly robots, and tracking, sorting and identifying parts.

Key Team

Ms. Sheila M. DiPalma CPA (Exec. VP of Employee Services and Corp. Officer & Chief Culture Officer)

Mr. Carl W. Gerst III (Exec. VP of Vision, ID Products & Platforms)

Mr. Joerg Kuechen (Sr. VP of Advanced Vision Technology & CTO)

Ms. Susan Conway (Sr. Director of Investor Relations)

Mr. Todd Keebaug (VP of Legal Services)

Ms. Robin Pratt (Corp. Communications Contractor)

Mr. Didier Lacroix (Sr. VP Worldwide Sales & Marketing)

Leadership team

Dr. Robert J. Shillman (Founder, Chairman Emeritus & Adviser)

Mr. Paul D. Todgham (Sr. VP of Fin. & CFO)

Products/ Services
Industrial Automation, Manufacturing, Software
Number of Employees
1,000 - 20,000
Natick, Massachusetts, United States
Company Registration
SEC CIK number: 0000851205
Net Income
100M - 500M
Above - 1B
Traded as
Social Media
Fri Mar 01 2024

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