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AIA market study predicts growth in MV sales

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Findings from the latest machine vision market study from the Automated Imaging Association (AIA) predict that machine vision sales will grow in the aftermath of the recent recession. Overall, vision sales should increase by 2.6 per cent to 4.6 per cent in 2010 according to the study, depending upon the extent of the current economic recovery and the rate of change in industrial production that occurs. This follows upon a 29.2 per cent decline experienced in 2009.

The study, entitled Machine Vision Markets – 2010 Results and Forecasts to 2014, is published by the AIA, a global machine vision trade group, with over 280 member companies from 26 countries.

According to the AIA, the trend line that underlies machine vision sales is linear and positive and will remain as such because of machine vision’s value proposition, which affords manufacturers greater cost efficiencies in production and increased product quality. A rapid, V-shaped MV recovery with sales returning to their historical trend line in 2010 is not foreseen, given the likelihood of a tentative and weak recovery in the overall economy. Because the specific pattern of the economic recovery is not known in advance, the study provides different recovery scenarios and compares predicted sales to sales based on an extrapolated, historical trend line.

One possible scenario provided by the study shows machine vision sales returning to the historical sales line by 2012. Another shows steady year-on-year growth, but at a new trend line substantially lower than the historical line (fluctuating between 2.0-2.6 per cent year-on-year growth up to 2014). Which scenario is the more likely, the report concludes, isn’t clear.

Approximate, top-down forecasts of MV product markets by year and by geographic region are also provided, utilising the economic forecasts of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other data. According to these forecasts, total MV financial transactions (the sum of all MV component and system sales) will grow from $3,745.5 million (USD) in 2009 to $3,869.3 million in 2010 and to $4,439.1 million in 2014.

Paul Kellett, AIA's director of market analysis, commented: 'Particularly in these challenging times, where uncertainty surrounds the extent and durability of the economic recovery, machine vision companies need to base their product development and sales strategies on the most accurate view of the marketplace possible. AIA has prepared its latest market study with this need foremost in mind. To satisfy this need, the study specifically analyses sales by product feature, identifying the best-selling feature configurations by product market and key trends that suggest the direction of evolving customer preferences.'

The findings are based on actual 2009 results and organised primarily around the major machine vision product markets: optics, lighting, cameras, imaging boards, software, smart cameras and application-specific machine vision systems. While the study predominantly focuses on North American markets, it also provides worldwide and regional estimates. An entire chapter is also dedicated to an analysis of the recession and forecasts of economic growth, industrial production and the performance of industry sectors such as the automotive, semiconductor and pharmaceutical industries.

In addition to the market study, AIA provides regular reports on the health of the machine vision market and economic trends that impact the industry at 'Market Data and Trends', which is a special section of the Machine Vision Online website.