Vision Sensors Open Up New Markets
Particularly popular in machine vision are standard systems, which on the one hand can be flexibly applied and on the other hand, allow for easy configuration by users. Vision sensors can be counted among these and have very recently shown an almost exorbitant market growth. Thus, VDMA (the German Engineering Federation) has recently assigned them with their own product category. Before this they were included in the category of smart cameras. Although an exact classification is not always possible, vision sensors chiefly differ from smart cameras in that they are specific to certain testing procedures, the picture resolution is often not so high and that optics and illumination devices are already integrated. While smart cameras in 2006 showed a 19 percent increase in sales in comparison to the previous year according to a current industry survey carried out by the VDMA Machine Vision Group, the vision sensors boasted an impressive increase of 157 percent.
At VISION 2008, which has been promoted in previous years as the essential international trade fair for machine vision and identification technologies, the escalating growth of vision sensors will be clearly seen in the autumn from 4 to 6 November. Because exhibitors such as Baumer, Cognex, Siemens, Vision & Control and many more are experiencing the current boom: "This year, with regard to our inspection sensors, we are expecting an increase on a scale of over 100 percent, which could even be higher regionally", says Torsten Zöller, Senior Marketing Manager with Cognex, Europe Central. With other machine vision manufacturers the outlook is similar: "We are presently experiencing a stormy growth period, which we trace back to both our new products as well as the potential of the vision sensors. Because their technology and the general concept do not only provide for the development of new applications but also new markets", says Dr. Ralf Grieser, Smart Vision Market and Product Management Executive of Baumer Optronic GmbH.
Image-based sensors fill, above all, a gap between the classic optoelectronic sensor and a smart camera. "They combine the features of high-performance sensors", puts forward Zöller, "with the efficiency of simple machine vision systems. They assume many tasks of the classic sensors at a rapid pace, as well as the more simple machine vision solutions". Thereby, he continued, explaining the exorbitant market growth.