Machine vision market in North America down in 2016

Sales of machine vision systems and components in North America fell 3% to $1.70 billion through September, according to new statistics released by the AIA.

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Sales of machine vision systemsand components in North America fell 3% to $1.70 billion through September, according to new statistics released by theAIA.

Total machine vision sales include sales of machine vision systems and components. Sales in the machine vision systems category saw a year over year decrease of 3% to $1.45 billion in the first nine months of 2016. This category includes smart cameras and application-specific machine vision (ASMV) systems. While sales of smart cameras increased by 10% to $243 million, ASMV systems fell 6% to $1.21 billion in the first nine months of the year.

On the machine vision components side, sales fell 2% to$237 million in total. This category includes cameras, lighting, optics, imaging boards, and software, all of which saw a decrease compared to the same time period last year.

"The performance of this market year to date was impacted most heavily from a cyclical downturn in the first two quarters of the year,” said Alex Shikany, AIA’s Director of Market Analysis. "The cyclicality was influenced by a number factors, one of which was a soft global semiconductor market. The good news looking forward is that according to the Semiconductor Industry Association, the global semiconductor market just posted its highest-ever monthly sales figure in September. The machine vision market in North America improved as well in that timeframe.

Even though a decrease was reported, there is room for optimism going forward, as there was a notable increase in Q3, including cameras (3%), lighting (5%), and software (5%). Smart cameras grew the most in Q3, however, with an increase of 24%. In total, sales for machine vision components and systems in North America increased by 7% to $574 million in Q3.

At VISION 2016, Alex Shikany told us that the market is indeed cyclical, and that he expects positive growth in the near future.

"Luckily, we’ve already come out of this [contraction] a bit," he said. "In Q1 and Q2, we saw a downward trend. But when I started looking back, I noticed that this has happened before, as the industry is cyclical. In 2012 it happened, which also happened to be an election year."

He added, "We expect 2018 and 2019 to be very strong years. Q3 is already looking for us, as we are seeing bigger spending from companies like Samsung and Apple, which is a good indicator for us."

In the AIA press release, Jeff Burnstein, President of AIA, also commented.

"Vision and imaging technology is a key player in a variety of automation solutions today,” he said. "More companies are interested in vision and automation in today’s market than ever before. Growing global trends such as autonomous vehicles, vision guided robotics, and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) rely heavily on vision and imaging, which bodes well for the future of this industry.”

View the AIA press release.

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