What role does machine vision play in industrialisation in Europe and the USA? What is the machine vision requirement in Asia? A CEO round table provides the answers to these questions.
VISION is the organiser of a first-class CEO round table, which took place on 4 February 2014 together with the VDMA Machine Vision Association in Frankfurt. The participants discussed the different levels of importance attached to machine vision in the global markets Europe, USA and Asia. Well-known industry representatives from all three continents were asked in the run-up to the event to use video messages to examine the market situation for machine vision in their respective countries and assess the further development of this key technology. Dr. Dietmar Ley, CEO, Basler AG, Ahrensburg, Dr. Heiko Frohn, Managing Director, VITRONIC, Wiesbaden, as well as Dr. Olaf Munkelt, Chairman, VDMA Machine Vision Association and Managing Director, MVTec Software GmbH, Munich, were on the podium as local dialogue partners.
VISION is the leading world trade fair for machine vision and is part of this industry. It takes place in Stuttgart from 4 to 6 November 2014. Together with the VDMA Machine Vision Association, the idea developed to bring together high-ranking managing directors and association representatives at the one table and to provide an outlook of the expected future development of this industry in the same year as VISION. This additional format was presented as VISION takes place for the first time every two years. This way we also want to continuously keep market participants up-to-date and inform them about how the machine vision industry is developing from a global perspective.
The willingness of CEOs from all over the world to support this idea was high and shows the close connection of the machine vision family. Following the event, an edited video summary will be posted on Messe Stuttgart's YouTube channel, which will be available from mid-February 2014.
The questions and answers are summarised below according to continents. Please note: These are the direct transcripts of the video recordings.
There were two questions to the fore for Europe: What is the status of machine vision today and how will it develop in the future? What role does machine vision play in the industrialisation of Europe? The importance of machine vision for securing company locations is the central topic here.
Mark Williamson, Director - Corporate Market Development, STEMMER IMAGING, UK:
Machine vision industry is outstripping growth of traditional industrial markets. The growth is driven by the need for efficiency and we see this increasing as there's a higher drive for reducing costs. We've seen significant cost reductions in machine vision technology which is making it more affordable and that's driving growth significantly in the use of machine vision and then improving efficiencies in the wider markets.
Going forward, I see this increasing and we're predicting growths at the moment of above 10 percent and I see this growth continuing if not growing further.
With the low labour cost countries taking manufacturing capacity out of the world economy, Europe, to stay competitive, has to use automation to keep costs low and keep efficiency high. Machine vision is a critical technology in automation that allows us to stay competitive in the world market. The quality of our products in Europe is essential and machine vision ensures that we deliver on that quality.
Donato Montanari, Machine Vision Business Unit General Manager, Datalogic Automation, Italy:
Everywhere in the world and especially in Europe, consumers are becoming much more conscious about product quality. Whether they are purchasing a new automobile or whether it is just grocery shopping, they want products which are high quality. They want to look and feel the quality when they see it. Therefore, businesses are required to inspect more and more of these products. This is what Machine Vision is driving now and this is what is going to be driving Machine Vision the next ten to twenty years. The other implication of higher quality is that not only the companies who deal directly with consumers, but also the company who supplies to these companies, they have to have inspections in their lines because traceability of the products and traceability of the suppliers become clearly the key factor.
In the USA the talk is currently about a wave of "re-industrialisation". Therefore, the question concerning what this means exactly for machine vision and in what industries the largest growth potential in North America is expected is interesting.
Jeff Burnstein, President, Association for Advancing Automation (A3) and President, Automated Imaging Association (AIA), USA:
We see a tremendous future for machine vision in manufacturing as part of the re-industrialization that's going on in North America. As many of the commentators have noted, more and more manufacturing is returning from overseas to the US. And that is great for anyone in the automation industry, especially machine vision. Because you can't think of an industry really that can't benefit from using machine vision technology. In terms of where we might be headed outside of the factory, I would certainly look at areas like life sciences, medical imaging, surveillance. These are enormous opportunities that are underutilising vision right now. So we are very bullish on the future of vision. We think North America is going to continue to be a strong market and we look forward as AIA to working with our member companies all over the world to take advantage of the opportunities.
Mike Cyros, CCO, Allied Vision Technologies, USA:
From our perspective, we see two key areas that are driving this re-industrialization in the North American market place. The first is what we refer to as re-shoring and that's the migration of labour and production jobs coming back into the United States. And the reason it's coming back is for higher quality manufacturing and all of that is driving the need for increasing the use of automation technologies including machine vision. Secondly that's combined with the strong resurgence of our automotive industry. So those two variables alone are really driving and we see those as big growth driver for the North American market. We are also seeing growth in non-traditional machine vision market areas, what we refer to as outdoor imaging. And these market places take advantage of the same technologies that we develop for the machine vision industry but used in a slightly different setting, for example sports stadium automation, outdoor imaging, digital cartography, ITS (intelligent traffic systems), as well as high end surveillance applications.
Greg Hollows, Director of Machine Vision Solutions, Edmund Optics, USA:
We're seeing a lot of opportunity for re-industrialization in the Americas from the advancements in automation technology. What's really sweet about that it's going to allow more jobs to be recreated in America, not just for the automation companies but also for the manufacturing that's being done. That's everything from making the product all the way through servicing the automation that's come in the door and keeping up the speed this is kind of creating better paying, more robust jobs for this market. Another interesting thing as the automation technology continues to improve and advance is that costs are coming down and it's going to allow us to actually put that into other market places. In things like life sciences what we're going to have is an opportunity to do more margin limitation at lower prices. That's going to allow us to get better test results and more information back to people that need this information very quickly so they can make decisions about their personal lives. It's going to improve the quality of life and make things better and add more jobs to this market as people have more needs that come up that can be addressed. A lot of beautiful things coming out with med and machine vision and automation technology is going to allow us just to continue improve the way we live.
In Asia the situation looks completely different than on the European and North-American continents. The central questions are: How big is the requirement for automation technology and thus also machine vision in Asia in the coming years? Which factors are driving this development? We asked high-ranking industry representatives from China, Japan and Korea
Sungho Huh, Director of Technical Marketing, Envision, Board Member Korea Machine Vision Industrial Association (KMVIA), South Korea:
As labor cost being increased in Asia territory, Asian country is not so attractive for labor-intensive industries any more. Many OEM companies want to increase price performance ratio and quality control as well. They are trying to increase use of robot systems and vision technology. Korean players are also seeing opportunities in Asian countries including China as the Korean factory automation market is at mature stage.
Sachio Kiura, Sachio Kiura, Director & Secretary-General, Japan Industrial Imaging Association (JIIA), Japan:
How big are the needs for automation in Japan and Asian countries? This is quite big. In China, labour cost is going up rapidly and then the working population is really decreasing due to the one-child policy. So, on the other hand, South-east Asia is also growing rapidly so they also have a big demand for automation technologies. Then In Japan also we can see the very new innovation of technology for the automotive industry and then also the new TV standard like 4k or 8k. So that's why there is very big demand for automation in Japan and Asian countries this year.
Isabel Yang, Founder and General Manager of Luster Light Tech, China:
Please see this page. You can see that the blue curve is from 2012 and the red curve is from 2013. You can see that the whole year of 2013 is a very good machine vision year in China. The total growth is at around 20per cent. Our forecast for the year 2014 is another healthy 20 per cent growth. Or everybody will be happy about that. So for the future 5-year plan we can see that 20per cent to 25 per cent will be the trend. We also have some good information, we can see that some new business will happen so this will mean around 30 per cent growth.
Eric Chen, Oversea Marketing Supervisor, OPT Machine Vision Tech, China:
From the current market situation the automation in China will be increased more and more in the coming years. I think this quickly increased demand is driven by China's industry transformation and upgrade. And of course labour cost increases in China and at the same time there are more and more applications in other industries apart from semiconductor industry, automotive industry and electronics industry. So we are very faithful for automation demand in the coming years.
Hersem Yang, General Manager, AZURE Photonics, China:
Machine Vision has undergone faster growth in China where the economy is in need of automation in China in the coming years. First, the whole market has become mature. Second, labour fee in China is increased year by year. More and more companies are building up automation systems to reduce production cost. Certainly high quality standards changes led companies to introduce factory automation.
VISION, the leading world trade fair for machine vision, takes place for the first time every two years from 4 to 6 November 2014. The next VISION is expected to surpass the exhibitor record of previous events. 260 exhibitors have already confirmed their registration nine months ahead of the start of the event. The number of registrations suggests that the 400 mark will be reached by the start of the event. "The direct comparison to VISION events organised on an annual basis up to now is only a partial indicator", explains Florian Niethammer, Project Manager of VISION. "It is also clear now that the interest in VISION has grown further and we will be able to welcome many new exhibitors. The interest in VISION is also consistently high on an international level. The foreign share is currently at 49 percent and thus at the level of the previous event."
You can download the text file, trade fair photos of the last VISION and exhibition logos from the Internet at