Worldwide demand for cameras from Germany

NOVEMBER 7, 2007--According to the results of current VDMA market research, manufacturers of machine-vision cameras succeeded in seizing market opportunities.

Nov 7th, 2007

NOVEMBER 7, 2007--According to the results of current VDMA market research on machine vision, manufacturers of machine-vision cameras succeeded in seizing market opportunities for their competitive products with cutting-edge technology. In 2006, they increased their turnover by 29% compared to the previous year. As early as 2005, they had achieved an increase of 16%, with German suppliers covering the entire range of high-quality cameras. This shows the competitive edge in the development and production of industrial cameras in Germany. These products are in high demand in Asia and North America, as well.

In addition to cameras, other machine-vision components also gained strongly in 2006 compared to the previous year: lighting by 43% (2005: 34%), optics by 34% (2005:10%), and machine-vision software by 30% (2005: 29%). Interfaces and cables, a newly added category, comprises cables that are manufactured especially for machine-vision applications. Although their overall volume is still small, turnover has increased by 77% in this sector. Frame grabbers could again record a small gain of 3% in 2006 (2005: minus 1%).

The increased use of components from Germany and Europe goes hand-in-hand with the success of the German component manufacturers. The number of components used from Asia and America has been steadily decreasing in recent years, while the percentage of those from Europe has increased. In only four years, the ratio has been reversed: while 58% of the components used in 2002 originated in countries outside of Europe, 58% were bought in Europe in 2006--a significant amount in Germany.

In the area of machine-vision systems, standard systems, which can be flexibly used and easily set up, continue to be the trend. In 2006, their turnover increased by 5% (following a leap of +45% in 2005). While the sales figures for smart cameras increased by 19%, vision sensors, which cover a specific and widely used application range, took a leap of 157%. However, with less than 1%, the percentage of vision sensors in the overall turnover is still low. On the contrary, image-processing systems that are application-specific noted a downturn of 4% in 2006. Therefore the development continues as in the previous year (2005: minus 3%).

Machine vision technology from Germany is well positioned in the foreign markets: in 2006, 57% of the turnover was achieved abroad, increasing the export volume by 8% compared to the previous year. More than a quarter of the turnover was achieved in Europe (excluding Germany). With a percentage of 15% each, the Asian and American markets were equally strong.

Due to the close collaboration with the European Machine Vision Association (EMVA), data for the machine vision sector is available for all of Europe. According to EMVA market research, the European suppliers recorded an overall growth in turnover of 11% in the previous year. This trend is also continuing in the current year: for 2007, an increase of 9% is predicted for the sector's turnover. The strongest trends are coming from the markets outside of Europe: for 2007, the manufacturers are again expecting very good business with North and South America (plus 17%) and Asia/rest of the world (plus 11%). For Europe as a whole, a slightly more moderate growth of 6% is expected.

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