North American machine-vision market grows 4% in 2003

MAY 12--The North American machine-vision market grew 4% in revenue in 2003, reversing course from a decline of 15% in 2002, according to the latest machine-vision market study from the Automated Imaging Association.

May 12th, 2004

MAY 12--The North American machine-vision market grew 4% in revenue in 2003, reversing course from a decline of 15% in 2002, according to the latest machine-vision market study from the Automated Imaging Association (AIA; Ann Arbor, MI), the industry's trade group. Unit growth posted a substantial gain of 27%, as users embraced lower-cost smart cameras, vision sensors, and embedded vision processors.

The total North American market was $1.6 billion in 2003, the study reports. The world machine-vision market is estimated at $6.6 billion, a gain of nearly 14% from 2002, fueled by increased use of machine vision in the Pacific Rim, especially Japan and China.

"Our new study provides further evidence that the downturn in capital-equipment spending on machine vision ended in 2003," said Jeffrey A. Burnstein, executive director of the AIA. "More than 80% of the machine-vision companies participating in our study expect their sales to post further gains in 2004.

"Machine vision is used for a wide variety of manufacturing tasks, including inspecting computers, checking to see that there are no contaminants in a pharmaceutical vial and that the correct label is on the vial, making sure there's no glass in baby food jars, helping guide robots to install car windshields, and packaging cookies--the list is nearly endless," explained Burnstein.

Industries that showed strong increases in the use of vision in 2003 included pharmaceutical, medical device, automotive, and wood products. Some industries didn't fare as well, particularly electronics and semiconductor.

"While individual end markets rise and fall, the overall trend is quite positive for machine vision, as manufacturing companies emphasize the need to provide better-quality products at a lower price, as well as product traceability in keeping with heightened sensitivity to security. Machine-vision technology also can help companies become more productive, allowing them to keep more manufacturing jobs onshore rather than outsourcing them to lower-cost producing nations such as China," Burnstein asserted.

The study, which contains more than 300 pages of data on the global machine-vision market, was primarily written and researched by Nello Zuech, president, Vision Systems International, an industry consultant for more than two decades.

To order the new study or to obtain more information on the AIA and its activities, visit www.machinevisiononline.org or contact AIA headquarters at 734-994-6088.

More in Consumer Packaged Goods