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Counting on competence


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optical control has long made itself a name for being a competent and committed problem solver. “We aim to fully understand the problems of customers and to solve them,” explains Managing Director Wolfgang Peter. “At the end of the day, this approach has led to the development of our flagship product OC-SCAN CCX, the first automated X-ray scanner for counting electronic components such as reels, matrix trays, cut tape and sticks.”

optical control was founded in 2011 as a subsidiary of the electronics service provider electron systeme. The fundamental knowledge of the electronics manufacturing industry was decisive for the company’s successful development.

“electron systeme produces high-quality electronic assemblies, pieces of equipment and systems that cater to the needs of the electronics market,” says Mr. Peter. “Over the last few years, production processes have been increasingly automated. On the other hand, we realized that logistics processes were largely being neglected. We were fully aware of the importance of the exact inventory knowledge and permanent inventory of SMD components on reels; large quantities were needed and this required efficient logistics and inventory data acquisition. Electronics manufacturers need to know how many components are on a reel but it was difficult to determine the exact number. In the past, manual counting processes of SMD components were extremely time-consuming and caused enormous personnel costs. Our idea was to create something new. Our research and development department eventually developed an X-ray based counting system and a relevant software solution that followed a completely new approach using X-ray cameras for the precise and quick counting process. The system works with 99% accuracy, often even 100% and greatly increases productivity. We were the first to face this problem and to develop those revolutionary efficient logistics processes for electronic components.”

optical control introduced the OCSCAN CCX in 2013 for the first time; today, the third generation is on the market. “When we introduced the product in 2013, it was way too expensive compared to manual systems,” states Mr. Peter. “But despite the price, we managed to convince the industry of its outstanding advantages.”

optical control’s innovative solution was developed together with Fraunhofer EZRT. Since then, it has been constantly improved and has gained international recognition. The OC-SCAN CCX facilitates accurate permanent inventory stocktaking and guarantees efficient production planning. It saves material and is environmentally friendly. Its development is a true success story.

The business group elektron systeme and optical control started with 35 employees; today, it has a headcount of 180 employees and annual sales of 15 to 20 million EUR. “The order book is full,” sums up Mr. Peter. “There is an increasing demand not only in Europe but also in the US and all over the world. The transformation of this company is simply incredible. In our early days, we were a handful of clever people with many ideas and exciting new technologies. Luckily, we had the right ideas at the right time, and we found the right people and partners to realize those ideas. Now, we are thrilled to be facing new challenges. A huge topic will be the unmanned factory. Our Xray based technology is extremely versatile; this will be a great advantage.”