LMI Technologies (LMI) announced the acquisition of FringeAI, an innovative AI and IIoT/5G inspection company based in Boston, Massachusetts. The company delivers a software suite that leverages integrated deep learning, dedicated edge devices, and IIoT/5G connected cloud services, to deliver AI-based solutions across many markets. The company will be integrated into the LMI group of companies with FringeAI forming a new AI Solutions group. TKH Group N.V., shareholder of the LMI Group of companies, finances the transaction from existing resources and expects that the acquisition will have a positive impact on earnings per share in 2021.
Many manufacturing companies suffer from low yield, high operating expense, and now pandemic risk exposure. Traditional inspection methods such as rule-based computer vision and manual visual inspection are unable to deliver the precision, scalability, and cost-efficiency required to solve today’s quality assurance challenges. Many customers believe that AI can help, but do not have the knowledge or resources to tackle implementation.
To meet these challenges head on, FringeAI offers a complete AI/IIoT solution package that includes optimized inspection pipelines using convolutional neural networks for fast and accurate image inspection, low cost hardware for edge deployment, and cloud services for ongoing tuning and support.
The acquisition of FringeAI adds AI-driven inspection capability to LMIs’ existing portfolio of 3D sensor hardware, edge accelerators, and web-based inspection software––creating a complete, factory-integrated package offering high performance, cost-efficient, AI-based vision inspection for a wide range of applications.
“The acquisition of FringeAI widens the scope of solutions LMI offers and delivers a customer experience that goes beyond today’s approach of DIY development. Today, developers use AI libraries to train and build deep learning models and integrators to deploy those models with various vision and processing hardware to deliver an inline inspection system. With FringeAI, LMI can combine a highly effective AI software solution to deliver the benefits of AI deep learning to the factory that includes sensor hardware and cloud-based support for the most challenging 2D and 3D inspection tasks,” said Mark Radford, CEO, LMI Technologies.
Chris Aden, founder of FringeAI, said regarding the M&A, “We started FringeAI to solve the most challenging factory inspection applications using AI technology. We quickly realized that cloud-centric AI solutions by themselves wouldn’t meet our customers’ needs. In addition to AI algorithms, we needed new interfaces to vision sensors, robust and portable software for runtime execution, cloud services for data archiving and alerting, and field support to minimize development time and to maximize inspection uptime. FringeAI is a perfect acquisition for LMI Technologies because they make the world’s best 3D industrial smart sensors and edge processors and have a worldwide channel partner and support network. Together with other TKH Group companies, we believe we can develop and support the world’s best inspection solutions for the most challenging applications."