APRIL 23--The approximately 250 companies involved in the German machine-vision industry have posted record sales for 2000. The industry achieved a 28.4% growth rate and DM 1.105 billion in sales, exceeding the DM 1 billion level for the first time. According to the Machine-Vision Group within the VDMA (Frankfort, Germany; www.vdma.org), the Association of German Machinery Manufacturers, a record growth rate of more than 30% is expected for 2001.
The VDMA estimates that only 15% to 20% of the market potential of German machine-vision industry has been reached. The reliable identification and 100% quality-control benefits of machine-vision technology has helped to miniaturize products, optimize production processes, and technically implement a �zero-error-strategy,� among others. Industry studies disclose that 61% of all machine-vision sales apply to quality-control applications and 19% to manufacturing automation. Widespread applications include the surface inspection of rolled materials such as tin foil and steel bands of several kilometers in length, measurement of gear parts, reading optical characters and codes, and controlling circuit-board production.
During 2000, the VDMA found that about 67% of machine-vision sales were accomplished through system distribution. These systems were built to user needs or to meet specific application demands. Some 33% of sales targeted the production and distribution of vision components such as cameras, frame grabbers, optics and lighting, processors, and software.
In the export of machine-vision products, German system suppliers and integrators increased the product export rate to 44% in 2000, a 9% rise over the 1999 rate. A guide to the German machine-vision industry is available at no charge at firstname.lastname@example.org.