The machine vision industry in Germany will grow in 2014 by ten percent minimum. Hence, the industry turnover will even exceed its sales forecast of about 1.8 billion euros by the end of this year. For 2015, we are expecting further growth despite macroeconomic uncertainties », stated Dr. Olaf Munkelt, Chairman, VDMA Machine Vision Group, on the occasion of the VISION press lunch in Stuttgart.
Foreign demand is increasing – domestic demand is catching up
The latest monthly VDMA incoming order index for machine vision indicates that turnover of machine vision will be growing further. Domestic order intake has been undergoing a robust growth. Strong momentum continues to come from abroad, in particular from Asia and the USA. „All over the world we see a strong demand for automation solutions and machine vision benefits as well. 100% quality checks keeping up with production speed and highest process reliability– it would be difficult to master the increasing requirements of a modern production without machine vision,” said Munkelt.
Growth market China
In the past few years China has been the most dynamic market for machine vision from Germany. Except for the 2009 crisis year, exports to China have risen significantly above average. Since 2008 turnover has more than quadrupled. In 2013, turnover rose by 23%, compared to 2012. With a share of now 10% in total turnover, China already ranks second after North America.
Sales figures of industrial robots are a good indication for the level of automization and of the further development of the turnover of machine vision. According to the International Federation of Robotics (IFR), sales of industrial robots in China are expected to increase at least 25% on average per year from 2015 to 2017 reaching 100,000 units in 2017. By 2017, more than 400,000 industrial robots will be installed in the factories of China – many of which will be equipped with “Robot Vision – Made in Europe”.
Even before the discussion about „Industry 4.0“came up in Germany, machine vision had been dealing with challenges that an increasingly networked production brings along. Over the last years, machine vision systems have been evolving from pure inspection systems to production optimizers and as „Embedded Vision“, they nowadays play a key role in the production process. Machine vision systems collect data, interpret and evaluate them. By proper selection and preparation of data, they can identify trends as well as potential sources of fault in the production process. The number of possible applications of machine vision systems will be even more increasing in the future due to the high availability of components, standardised interfaces, improved computer performance as well as shifting essential components to the Cloud.
Beyond the factory environment, embedded vision systems increasingly play a greater role. Whether in the medical technology field, in the food industry or in logistics: performance-adapted systems, often with a small form-factor, are needed to perfectly implement classical applications of machine vision like identification tasks.
Machine Vision – a developing industry
The development of machine vision has been spectacular. The VDMA market survey goes back to 1995 and a comparison of key parameters from then and now shows how quickly machine vision technology has succeeded in penetrating the most diverse fields of application:
The industry turnover of 230 million euros in 1995 has increased over sixfold to more than 1.6 billion euros last year. In the same period the average enterprise size increased its number of employees from ten to almost 50 employees. In 2013 the German machine vision industry increased its number of employees by nine percent to almost 8,100. The export share in 2013 accounted for 58 percent.
Good future prospects
Machine vision has been conquering many new fields of application, in and outside the factory. Improved quality, greater reliability, increased safety and cost-effectiveness are benefits that are just as crucial in non-manufacturing contexts as in the realm of industrial production. In 2013, turnover of machine vision in non-industrial sectors grew by 25 percent raising the share of non-industrial applications in overall turnover to almost 29 percent.
Intelligent traffic systems accounted for the highest share in total turnover of non-industrial applications, followed by medical technologies, logistics, postal sorting as well as safety and surveillance.
Increasing standardization, simplification and intuitive user interfaces, greater efficiency, improved computer performance and miniaturization remain real growth drivers.
Informations : http://rua.vdma.org