North American machine vision market sets new record in 2015

Leading growth categories for machine vision components in 2015 were lighting (16%), imaging boards (10%), and software (4%).

Leading growth categories for machine vision components in 2015 were lighting (16%), imaging boards (10%), and software (4%).

North American sales of machine vision components and systems grew to $2.3 billion in 2015, its highest annual total on record, according to new statistics issued by AIA, the industry’s trade group.

Total machine vision sales, which grew less than 1 percent, include sales of machine vision components and systems. The machine vision components category saw growth of 4 percent to $316 million in 2015. The leading growth categories for machine vision components in 2015 were lighting (16 percent), imaging boards (10 percent), and software (4 percent).

The machine vision systems category was flat in 2015 at $2.0 billion. Within machine vision systems, sales of application specific machine vision (ASMV) systems increased 1 percent to $1.7 billion, while smart cameras contracted by 4 percent to $289 million.

Despite the record performance overall, the machine vision market in North America continued to see the effects of a cyclical slowdown in the fourth quarter of the year, which was driven by a decrease in sales of machine vision systems. More specifically, the systems category saw a 17 percent decrease in sales from the fourth quarter of 2014, marking the second consecutive quarter of year over year contraction. When combined with the flat growth in machine vision components, total North American sales for machine vision decreased by 15 percent in the fourth quarter of 2015.

“Fifty-nine percent of industry experts are expecting things to turn upward for machine vision component markets in the first six months of 2016, 39 percent believe they will remain flat, and 3 percent expect further declines,” said Alex Shikany, AIA’s director of market analysis. “For machine vision systems, 56 percent of survey respondents believe the category will remain flat, 32 percent expect an increase, and 12 percent expect a decline.”

“Interest in vision and imaging technology is at an all-time high today,” said AIA president Jeff Burnstein. “We continue to see new and exciting applications emerge for vision in all aspects of automation. Imaging technology is being used more and more outside the factory as well, with growth in areas like life sciences and unmanned aerial vehicles. It is an exciting time to be involved in this industry.”

On the heels of a record year, AIA expects its flagship trade show, The Vision Show, to draw record attendance on May 3-5, 2016 in Boston, Mass. The show will also feature an additional hall, devoted to vision technologies being used in growing applications such as collaborative robotics, life sciences, and a pavilion highlighting leading vision research. AIA is also offering a full educational conference at The Vision Show which will feature its Certified Vision Professional (CVP) Basic and Advanced training programs. Registration is now open on AIA’s website to attend and exhibit at The Vision Show in 2016.

AIA’s sister group, the Robotic Industries Association (RIA) is also hosting its International Collaborative Robots Workshop in conjunction with The Vision Show on May 3-4, 2016 in Boston. More information about the event can be found on RIA’s website,

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