Machine vision trends for 2018 and beyond

The machine vision industry is experiencing robust growth as industrial and non-industrial applications depend on its benefits more to make operations easier and more user-friendly.

By AIA March 24, 2018

Machine vision technology has found its way into applications inside and outside of factory settings, riding a wave of progress in automation technology and growing into a sizable global industry. Quite a bit of future technology will depend on machine vision, and the market will grow accordingly. By 2023, the global market is expected to reach $12.29 billion—a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.61% from 2017. This robust growth is caused by a number of broader economic factors.

Long-term growth drivers for machine vision

The main drivers of growth in the machine vision market are the need for quality inspection and automation inside factories, growing demand for artificial intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT) integrated systems that depend on machine vision, increasing adoption of Industrie 4.0 technology that uses vision to improve the productivity of robotic automation, and government initiatives to support smart factories across the globe.

Machine vision software will be one of the fastest growing segments between 2017 and 2023. The main reason for this is the expected increase in integration of AI into industrial machine vision software to enable deep learning in robotics technology.

PC-based industrial machine vision products, the oldest form of industrial machine vision, will retain a large portion of machine vision market share because of their ease of use and processing power.

Current machine vision trends

While there are several main factors in the expected long-term growth of the global machine vision market, there are a few trends to keep an eye on now that are changing the way machine vision technology is deployed.

1. Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT): While AI and IoT technology are long-term drivers of growth, the IIoT is connecting production technology with information technology in today’s factories to increase productivity. The IIoT depends on heavily on machine vision to collect the information it needs.

2. Non-industrial applications: Driverless cars, autonomous farm equipment, drone applications, intelligent traffic systems, guided surgery and other non-industrial uses of machine vision are rapidly growing in popularity, and often call for different functionality in machine vision than industrial applications. These non-industrial uses of machine vision are being deployed today and could be an important part of machine vision growth.

3. Ease of use: Machine vision systems can often be complex from the user’s perspective. As mentioned above, PC-based machine vision systems will remain popular, despite their age, because of their ease of use. The desire for ease of use may drive further standardization in machine vision products, which could make them even easier to deploy inside and outside of factory settings.

The machine vision market is poised for long-term growth. The IIoT, growing non-industrial applications and ease of use are all helping buoy today’s machine vision market, but there are several other factors effecting long-term market expansion.

This article originally appeared on the AIA website. The AIA is a part of the Association for Advancing Automation (A3). A3 is a CFE Media content partner. Edited by Chris Vavra, production editor, Control

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