North American sales of machine vision (MV) components and systems that provide vision intelligence to robots and other machines declined 4.5 percent over the same period last year. According to statistics from the AIA, the industry’s trade group part of the Association for Advancing Automation (A3), financial transactions for the entire market contracted to $674 million, with sales of MV components down 12.6 percent to $93 million and sales of MV systems down 3.1 percent to $579 million.
“Based on what we were hearing from our member companies at the end of last year and into the new year, we expected the statistics to reflect fewer sales for the quarter,” said Alex Shikany, vice president of membership and business intelligence at A3. “The semiconductor industry, which is a leading indicator for machine vision, showed signs of contraction at the end of last year, which led us to believe lower sales figures might’ve been ahead to begin 2019. Fortunately, machine vision technologies are still becoming smarter and smaller to fit within in-demand automation applications such as AI-driven bin picking, autonomous vehicles, and advanced inspection technologies, which is a positive indicator for the future health of this industry.”
Mixed Expectations Predicted for Future MV Sales
According to AIA’s latest survey of industry experts, 41 percent believe machine vision component sales in total will increase, 39 percent believe they will remain flat and 21 percent are bracing for further declines. There is more consensus for machine vision systems markets with 71 percent of respondents expecting flat performance, 23 percent expecting increases and only 6% bracing for declines. Overall, two-thirds of respondents believe the overall machine vision market in North America will remain flat in the next six months.