VISION 2003 show expects more exhibitors and booth space

Sept. 1, 2003
International journalists attended a press conference held recently at SCA Schucker GmbH ( in Bretten, Germany, for information briefings on the 16th VISION 2003 International Trade Fair for...

George Kotelly, Editor in Chief
[email protected]

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International journalists attended a press conference held recently at SCA Schucker GmbH ( in Bretten, Germany, for information briefings on the 16th VISION 2003 International Trade Fair for Industrial Image Processing and Identification Technologies scheduled for Oct. 21–23 in Stuttgart, Germany. They were briefed on the continuing double-digit growth of the machine-vision industry in Germany, given a status update of the newly established European Machine Vision Association (seeVision Systems Design, July 2003, p. 16), and shown a demonstration by SCA Schucker of a special adhesive-bonding vision-inspection system for the car industry.

The first conference speaker, Thomas Walter, VISION 2003 project manager of show host Messe Stuttgart, estimates that more than 180 European and other exhibitors will attend VISION 2003, compared to 164 exhibitors in 2002. He also projects that the gross exhibition area will surpass 13,000 square meters, compared to 11,000 square meters last year. The show is expected to attract approximately 4500 visitors from more than 18 countries.

The exhibitors will offer a range of new cameras, frame grabbers, optics, lighting devices, image processors, software tools, and system platforms. A large hall area will be devoted to the display of identification systems and measuring equipment.

Major trade-fair events include the Machine Vision Beginner's Workshop, which targets the education of newcomers to the machine-vision industry. Held one day before the start of the VISION 2003 show, this workshop will present expert manufactures and users who will explain the basics of vision/imaging and offer useful information about machine-vision components, technologies, and applications.

Another annual fair event is Industrial Vision Days, which is a lecture forum held on all three exhibition days. Presented by industry professionals, it consists of more than 45 papers on a range of technical vision/imaging topics from fundamental to proficient.

The 11th Annual VISION 2003 Award will be bestowed on a company, university, or research institute that has developed an outstanding image-processing product, system, or process that advances the machine-vision industry. The award winner receives 2000 euros and does not have to be an exhibitor. An independent group of international machine-vision experts will judge the entries.

To make it easier for visitors to prepare for their attendance at VISION 2003, a Visitor Information System will be available on This on-line service will provide information on new products, exhibitors, and show events for evaluation and planning purposes. In addition, the Web site will list jobs available in the machine-vision industry.

Market data

The second speaker, Manfred Hock, managing director of the Technical Section for Machine Vision of the Association of German Machinery Manufacturers (VDMA), discussed the German image-processing market and companies based on a recent VDMA study. This study reveals that sales in 2002 for the German machine-vision industry increased 10.4% to 724 million euros ($820 million), compared to 656 million euros in 2001. Projections for 2003 predict industry sales of 830 million euros ($954 million), a rise of 14.6%. Projections for 2004 are equally optimistic with an expected 15% market sales growth to 955 million euros ($1.098 billion).

According to the study, the largest market shares were dominated by system sales in 2002 with systems for special application in one industry at 31.7%, OEM systems at 18.7%, and systems for special application in any industry at 14.6%. For 2002 sales, the traditional application area for the German machine-vision industry remains quality assurance at 46.2%, down 1.2% from 2001 sales. Interestingly, nonindustrial applications gained the highest amount: 6.1% to 27.1% in 2002. Trailing in third place was automated production at 16.3%, dropping 3.5%.

In a breakdown of leading German industry sectors, automotive again topped the list at 18.8% of 2002 sales. The only other two industries in double-digit sales were electrotechnical/electronics at 16.4% and machinery at 12.4%.

In a review of the status of current machine-vision market sectors, the German Automobile Industry Federation reports lower car-registration figures for the domestic market during 2002 for the fourth year in a row. The Central Association of the German Electrical Engineering Industry also does not see any changes in sight. However, in mid-2003, German robotics and automation industry sales have risen 27%. In partnership with the VISION 2003 trade fair, the VDMA organizes and presents both the Machine Vision Beginner's Workshop and the Industrial Vision Days events.

EMVA status

The third speaker was Gabriele Jansen, manager of the business unit, integrated systems division, at ISRA Vision Systems AG (Karlsruhe, Germany; and recently elected president of the newly formed European Machine Vision Association (EMVA; She gave an updated report on the accomplishments of the EMVA since its formation last May in Barcelona, Spain. The association now has 27 European company and three European association members.

The purpose of the EMVA is to strengthen the position of its member companies and of European machine-vision technology in worldwide markets and provide a European platform for its member companies to exchange information and implement joint actions. Its goals are to enhance European and international recognition of machine vision, provide a member-networking platform, promote market visibility, collect market data, push for standards, and organize conferences and events. Planned machine-vision activities include Web-site marketing, source book, newsletter, business conference, press relationships, and working groups.

Robotic-guided vision

The last speaker was Andreas Keifer, director of international business at SCA-Schucker. He described the company's line of adhesive-application systems and dosing technology, mainly for the international automotive market. He also described and demonstrated a new robotic-motion-guided adhesive-application system with a machine-vision system integrated by ISRA Vision Systems. This system makes it possible to monitor, control, and measure the application of adhesive beads to automobile door panels in real time. The adhesive dispenser can even navigate around panel curves and corners regardless of orientation with immediate on-line analysis.

The machine-vision system integrated into the adhesive dosing controller unit essentially comprises three cameras and strobed red lighting devices that cover 360° around the application points. The captured images are analyzed for adhesive position and application deviations and wide, narrow, and faulty beads. This integrated adhesive application system eliminates a previously needed station and cycle time, saving costs and providing higher resolution. A PC monitor displays system operational status, parameters, and faults. The system also offers auto-teach functions, an operating wizard, and single-button activated software. Early detection of defects is important because after assembly has occurred it is difficult or impossible to identify faults and expensive to repair them.

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