WOBURN, MA, OCTOBER 2, 2023 — BitFlow, Inc., an innovator in frame grabber technology for the machine vision industry, today announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by Advantech in an all-cash transaction representing a 100% equity stake in the company. The transaction was unanimously approved by BitFlow’s Board of Directors and is expected to close during the fourth quarter of 2023.
Advantech is a global leader in embedded, industrial, Internet of Things (IoT), and automation solution platforms headquartered in Taipei City, Taipei, Taiwan, with more than 80 office locations worldwide. Advantech has been a pioneer in integrating Artificial Intelligence (AI) into machine vision systems that transform traditional inspection processes into self-learning Smart Factory applications to improve profitability, drive innovation, and optimize operational efficiency. AI-powered imaging systems go beyond high-quality automated inspection to opportunities for generating information to determine root cause failures, independently measure key performance measures, predict maintenance requirements that reduce costly downtime, and increase the visibility of supply chains, among numerous other value-adding services.
Avner Butnaru, CEO of BitFlow, commented on the acquisition. “The choice to cooperate with Advantech was based on several key factors, including Advantech’s well-known global brand presence in machine vision applications in North America, as well as its global industrial hardware supply capabilities and complete after-sale support and services. Advantech’s manufacturing capability is also crucial to BitFlow. In addition, because of similar corporate cultures, the impact on customers brought about by the integration of Advantech and BitFlow will be greatly reduced. BitFlow believes that by combining its advanced imaging technology and Advantech’s R&D, sales and manufacturing capabilities, BitFlow products will play a much greater role in the AI vision market.”
Upon completion of the transaction, research and development teams for BitFlow and Advantech’s North American business development team will work together to launch innovative new 2D and 3D network devices for the industrial imaging market and fast-emerging AI vision sectors. For instance, BitFlow CoaXPress over Fiber (CoF) frame grabbers will make it possible to link Advantech AI cameras and compute devices using low-cost Fiber cables and connectors for transmission speeds that may soon approach 100 Gbps — two times the current CXP standard — to meet the high bandwidth requirements for AI processing.
As one of the founding technologies in factory automation dating back to the 1970s, machine vision is today at the forefront of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and AI. Machine vision’s capabilities are being drastically expanded by increasingly powerful computing, embedded and IIoT devices at the network edge, and a growing universe of deep learning AI models. This can permit an imaging system to detect incredibly minute defects, such as microscopic anomalies in the bond wires on a circuit board, resulting in enhanced product quality, a significant reduction in waste, and increased production throughput for companies both large and small.
Magic Pao, Associate Vice President of Industrial Cloud & Video Group said, “The application of advanced computer vision has been highly integrated with AI solutions. Over the last three years, in particular, strong growth in industrial AI has become much more evident. However, in the past, Advantech mainly focused on applications for traditional machine vision equipment, providing industrial-grade cameras and frame grabber cards to meet the basic needs of production inspection. But, as the industry moves towards high-end machine vision applications, such as for advanced semiconductor manufacturing and medical imaging, Advantech will need to supplement high-end image acquisition products to fulfill the demands for high-precision advanced vision inspection.”