European vision industry grows 10 per cent in 2015
The European vision industry is expected to have grown 10 per cent in 2015, according to the latest figures from the machine vision arm of the VDMA. Sales are expected to increase a further 7 per cent in 2016 compared to 2014 data.
The VDMA said that the German vision market will reach €2.26 billion by the end of 2016, growing at a rate of 8 per cent on 2014 figures.
Strong demand for German machine vision products is expected from Europe, USA and Asia, the VDMA stated, although the organisation said uncertainty remains with regard to the automotive industry and China. In the period 2010 to 2014, after North America, China was the most important export market for machine vision from Germany. In 2014 the growth rate dropped to 10 per cent, its lowest level since 2009. Exports to European countries, however, increased above average by 23 per cent.
The North American market contracted by 11 per cent in the third quarter of 2015, according to data from the AIA, although it has grown overall in 2015.
The VDMA data was presented at the end of last year during a panel discussion with industry leaders covering topics ranging from Industry 4.0 to embedded vision. Dr Olaf Munkelt, CEO of MVTec Software, commented: ‘There are urgent demands for easier ways to interlink machine vision and programmable logic controllers, and the resulting interfaces and standards. Embedded vision solutions, which can run on a wide range of hardware platforms, also help meet the growing need for mobile vision applications and for equipping robots with integrated vision solutions.’
Dr Lou Hermans, chief operating officer at Cmosis, felt that growth in the vision market will not only come from classical industrial machine vision applications, but from other sectors. ‘What we see is a lot of demand coming from cameras being used on drones in security and people are not only interested in making nice pictures, but they also want to destruct information of these pictures in order to make decisions,’ he said in a statement. ‘So I think there is a good opportunity for the machine industry and I think in particular for the embedded systems – machine vision systems built into the application.’
Robot vision was also mentioned as a driver for the industry, with Carsten Busch at ABB Automation, commenting in a statement that, in the future, there will not be ‘any roboter based flexible automation without vision’.
Dr Heiko Frohn, CEO of Vitronic, stated in response to a question about commercial instances of vision technology, that the machine vision industry will never be rendered superfluous by machine vision apps. ‘The increasing spread of machine vision in mass consumer markets will further stimulate our business field,’ he said. ‘Both, the increasing visibility and awareness of our technology, as well as the familiarity with and the natural and intuitive use of tools based on machine vision technology, might contribute to it.’
The European vision industry will meet in November 2016 in Stuttgart for the Vision trade fair, where more than 400 exhibitors are expected to participate. Companies including Basler, Cognex, Datalogic, Isra Vision, MVTec and Stemmer Imaging are among the 220 exhibitors which have already signed up.