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EMVA breaks from VDMA to form independent association

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The European Machine Vision Association (EMVA) is splitting from the German VDMA to become a fully independent association. The proposal was voted in by EMVA members at its General Assembly, held during its business conference in Lisbon from 19-21 April.

From its creation in 2003, the EMVA has existed as a sub-division of the VDMA, the German Engineering Federation. The proposal for the EMVA to become a legally independent entity was taken in order to grow the organisation and was approved by a 'strong majority' at the General Assembly, according to Toni Ventura, CEO of DataPixel and member of the EMVA executive committee.

The change, according to Ventura, is to enable the association to develop its activities further, as well as to be able to take advantage of funding opportunities from the European Commission, which weren’t available as part of the VDMA.

Speaking to Imaging and Machine Vision Europe, Ventura stated: 'One of our goals is to develop our own research and development roadmap for machine vision in Europe in order to help the European Commission to define future innovation programmes and to consider machine vision as a key technology for the future of manufacturing in Europe.'

The EMVA will be able to receive funding from the European Commission to support its activities, but in order to gain access to that it needed to take the step to form a separate legal entity.

The EMVA is involved in machine vision standardisation, runs its annual business conference, and generates a market study surveying more than 250 companies. Its website is also becoming a more important source of information. 'All this is creating conditions where a new step for the EMVA is needed. That’s the logic behind the proposal,' said Ventura.

The decision also came about from statute changes within the VDMA made in 2010, which allow non-German members to join in order for the organisation to grow in Europe. The changes within the VDMA made it difficult for the EMVA to remain a sub-chapter of the VDMA, according to Ventura. One option was for the EMVA and VDMA to merge, but the EMVA executive committee decided this didn’t comply with the EMVA’s plans for future growth.

Ventura commented that the two organisations will continue to work together to find areas where they provide complementary functions.

'It has been a very successful cooperation between the EMVA and the VDMA,' said Ventura, citing the growth in the EMVA from 35 founding companies in 2003 to more than 125 member companies today as proof of this.

'During the past 10 years, the machine vision industry has achieved a level of maturity in Europe,' he added. 'There is no other European international organisation that represents this industry. It is an industry with very specific structural requirements and I think the EMVA is something that is really needed [for the machine vision sector].'

The EMVA executive committee, which was also voted in during the conference in Lisbon, aims to complete the transformation to an independent body by the fourth quarter of 2012.

The executive committee members are: Gabriele Jansen of Vision Ventures, Pierre-Alain Champert of Coherent, Ignazio Piacentini of ImagingLab, Toni Ventura of DataPixel, and Dirk Käseberg of Mettler Toledo Garvens.

Patrick Schwarzkopf will continue as General Secretary until the end of June. Following on from that, former member of the executive committee Cor Maas will serve as interim general manager for the EMVA starting 1 July until a new general manager is appointed.

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