North American sales of machine vision components and systems grew to $2.3 billion in 2015, its highest annual total on record, according to new statistics issued by AIA, the industry’s trade group.
Total machine vision sales, which grew less than one percent, include sales of machine vision components and systems. The machine vision components category saw growth of 4% to $316 million in 2015. The leading growth categories for machine vision components in 2015 were lighting (16%), imaging boards (10%) and software (4%).
The machine vision systems category was flat in 2015 at $2 billion. Within machine vision systems, sales of application specific machine vision (ASMV) systems increased 1% to $1.7 billion, while smart cameras contracted by 4% to $289 million.
Despite the record performance overall, the machine vision market in North America continued to see the effects of a cyclical slowdown in the fourth quarter of the year, which was driven by a decrease in sales of machine vision systems. More specifically, the systems category saw a 17% decrease in sales from the fourth quarter of 2014, marking the second consecutive quarter of year-over-year contraction. When combined with the flat growth in machine vision components, total North American sales for machine vision decreased by 15% in the fourth quarter of 2015.
“Fifty-nine percent of industry experts are expecting things to turn upward for machine vision component markets in the first six months of 2016, 39% believe they will remain flat and 3% expect further declines,” said Alex Shikany, AIA’s director of market analysis. “For machine vision systems, 56% of survey respondents believe the category will remain flat, 32% expect an increase and 12% expect a decline.”
“Interest in vision and imaging technology is at an all-time high today,” said AIA President Jeff Burnstein. “We continue to see new and exciting applications emerge for vision in all aspects of automation. Imaging technology is being used more and more outside the factory as well, with growth in areas like life sciences and unmanned aerial vehicles. It is an exciting time to be involved in this industry.”