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European Machine Vision Outlook Improves

Economic conditions indicate further growth this year in industrial vision markets, says German trade group.

Proof that the European economic situation is getting better month by month can be seen in industrial vision market trends, said Olaf Munkelt, president of the VDMA (German machine builders association,, image processing section, during a recent press conference for Vision 2010. This international trade fair, the most important one in Europe concerning image processing technologies and related products, is scheduled for Nov. 9-11 in Stuttgart, Germany, and is expected to host almost 6,000 visitors. Some 300 exhibitors, with 40 percent coming from abroad, are anticipated at the event

“The positive market trends related to the first six months of 2010 make us think that the crisis is almost over,” observed Munkelt. “During 2009, for the first time, the German image processing industry registered a negative 21 percent in turnover, which was positive considering that a negative 30 percent was originally expected. The results were better thanks to non-industrial applications of image processing technologies, in the medical field, safety, traffic management, entertainment, sports and the like. Requests for image processing solutions increased by the 25 percent in these areas.”

As a result of these trends, the market share of non-industrial applications in the image processing industry has increased from 10 percent to 16 percent, while classical industrial applications declined by 28 percent. The growth of 88 percent in the demand for image processing solutions in the semiconductor industry, mostly due to photovoltaic and solar production, accounted for the rest.

Orders during the first six months of 2010 have been so great that they have exhausted the supply chain—especially in components. “It was difficult for suppliers to satisfy this sudden increase in the demand, so delivery times grew longer,” said Munkelt. Many suppliers reacted by increasing inventory, which had the impact of further increasing orders.

“This inventory strategy and the tendency to open up trade again could easily slow down in the second part of the year. This is the risk now,” Munkelt warned. However, technological advancements and growing standardization make VDMA think positively about the sector from a long-term point of view. The association has increased its forecasts for sales from 5 percent to 10 percent growth for 2010.

About the author

Ilaria De Poli,, is an editor at Fiera Milano Editore, a magazine covering automation and manufacturing in Italy.


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