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Machine vision sales to reach $2 billion in 2018

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Industrial machine vision sales are expected to reach $2 billion in 2018, according to a new market report from Yole Développement.

The report, entitled ‘Machine vision technology and market trends’, provides a complete analysis of the machine vision market. The report’s author, Paul Danini, an analyst at Yole Développement, said total industrial machine vision sales accounted for 1.2 million cameras in 2012, and he expects sales to increase 8 per cent CAGR to $2 billion in 2018.

‘After moderate 1 per cent growth in 2012 (a reflection of the economic downturn facing the global industry), an upturn is expected in the future, thanks to the trend [in automation] in Asian factories, new capital expenditures in the semiconductor industry, and the emergence of new low-end applications,’ he said.

From an industrial point of view, versatile detection, versatile inspection and compact 3D inspection will fuel most of the machine vision market’s growth, driven by new low-end applications, according to Yole. The company stated that, from a non-industrial standpoint, all identified segments will sustain steady, high growth at a 15 per cent CAGR; namely high-end IP surveillance, number plate recognition and automotive safety.

According to the report, the machine vision players’ main challenge will be how to gain market share in the dynamic low-end market segments while maintaining sustainable profitability.

Concurrently, adjacent non-industrial applications are expected to burgeon at a double-digit rate, driving future growth, said the company.

Yole Développement’s report includes market insights in the form of units and revenue for market segments in both industrial and non-industrial machine vision. Industrial machine vision market forecasts are made for 2013-2018 and include industrial cameras, smart cameras and vision sensors.

The report says the machine vision market is very fragmented at the camera level, but adds the machine vision image sensor market is quite concentrated due to the presence of strong technical know-how.

From a technological standpoint, industrial machine vision is mostly characterised by incremental innovations: subsystem manufacturers increasing resolution, frame rate and subsystem capacity. The market’s technological maturity makes disruptive innovation challenging, and minimises any unique selling proposition.

The combination of high fragmentation and limited product differentiation has led the machine vision market to unavoidable commoditisation, driven by strong price competition from companies like Point Grey and Basler, said Yole. Now that the market has attained significant manufacturing volume, it’s highly probable that a consolidation will occur at the low-end through successive acquisitions by market leaders strategically positioned there, according to the report.

Related story: Paul Danini says diversification key for vision market growth

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