Machine Vision Slowed by Economy

June 30, 2008

Over its approximately 25-year history, machine vision has become a useful technology in manufacturing, having attained a role as an enabler of quality control and productivity. In North America alone, sales volumes for machine vision components reached $206 million in 2007, according to the Machine Vision Markets study from the Automated Imaging Assn. In that same year, machine vision systems, including smart cameras, achieved sales of $1.3 billion.

The study, which includes optics, lighting, cameras, imaging boards, software, smart cameras and application-specific systems, estimates that economic transactions involving machine vision products in North America will pass the $2 billion mark by 2012.

Despite being hit hard by the 2001 U.S. recession, North American machine vision companies rebounded to a sharp recovery, which continued through 2006, according to AIA’s figures. In 2007, however, sales growth hit a brick wall once again, reflecting a general cooling of the U.S. economy, explains the AIA report.

Based on economic projections, AIA expects the slowdown experienced in 2007 to intensify in 2008.

Here’s the World for You

Employing a top-down estimation technique, the study sized the total machine vision components world market in 2007 at $683.5 million, the smart camera market at $387.3 million and the systems market at just more than $4 billion. By 2012, total components will grow to $928.9 million, smart cameras to $545.1 million and application-specific vision systems to $5.3 billion, according to the report.

Europe comprises the largest segment at 32.6% of the total world market in 2007. By comparison, North American and Asia-Pacific markets represent 30.1% each, according to the study, which also predicts Asia-Pacific to become the largest market by 2009 and to continue growing its share of the world market to 35.4% by 2012. 


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