Monday, March 2, 2009

Goodbye AOI

Shedding noncore business units is a fairly common, though not overwhelmingly popular (see the latest CFO study by Prime Advantage) method of cutting costs and improving the bottom line. With the international markets fluctuating wildly and manufacturers bunkering down for the economic turmoil, Agilent and Orbotech have divested their automatic optical inspection (AOI) businesses.

This week, Orbotech announced a buyer for their legacy and current-generation AOI systems, choosing Orpro Services s.r.l. Agilent, having announced their divesture just in February 2009, has yet to name a partner, buyer, or other outlet for the AOI and automatic X-ray inspection (AXI) intellectual property (IP) they hold.

Companies outside of the inspection sector have made the change as well. Siemens reorganized its massive business structure, moving electronics assembly machines in with its Drive Technologies division, and moving machine vision to Microscan.

For assemblers and OEMs purchasing capital equipment, the key information is who will service my new, expensive system; where will spare parts, add-ons, and software updates come from; and what useable life can I now expect for the product? With Orbotech’s Orpro Services acquisition, the newly formed company, Orpro Vision, will handle all of these services and follow-ons. For Agilent, decisions are still in the future about where the inspection systems will end up and in what form. The company has provided a dedicated Website,, for all questions from manufacturers.

Meredith Courtemanche, managing editor


  1. Dear Meredith,
    Thank you for addressing this big change in the test and inspection world. It shows that the industry is in dire shape and Orbotech and Agilent did not expect much AOI and AXI business in the near future. But the market will recover and AOI and X-ray is needed to guarantee quality in the assembly process. So I do not agree with the headline in a general perspective.
    Now is the time for large EMS as well as for smaller CMs to review inspection strategies. I am sure your magazine will continue to cover this interesting field. We look forward to take part in these discussions.

  2. It is perhaps worthwhile noticing that Orpro Vision GmbH in Germany now has taken over the complete business, including IP, technology, R&D sales, marketing, production and service, and will continue to service the European and American markets with a full line-up of products, new developments, both in HW and SW. Orpro Vision is planning to take over the and to continue the AOI business in Asia as well.

  3. It is worth noting that a new company has been cread, Orpro Vision GmbH in Grmany. This company takes over the complete business from Orbotech, including technology,IP, and will continue to serve the American, African, and European markets. R&D, Sales, Service, marketing, administration are all based in Hameln near Hannover. The company will provide a full line-up of AOI, and develop new HW and SW, and support and extend the existing product platforms. will be active shortly. An option to take up the business in Asia exists and is likely to be exercised later in the year.