ANN ARBOR, MI -- A new machine vision market study reports that machine vision and automated imaging continues to be a growth industry in North America.

The 2008 study is based on 2007 actual results and is organized primarily around the major machine vision product markets: optics, lighting, cameras, imaging boards, smart cameras and application-specific machine vision systems (ASMV). While the study predominantly focuses on the North American market, two chapters are dedicated to the emerging Chinese and Indian machine vision markets. The study also provides worldwide estimates of sales.

The study found that the North American economy has indeed had an impact on both U.S. and Canadian manufacturing sectors, with most economists predicting a continued slowdown in the economy for the U.S. throughout 2008, which could result in a decrease in purchases of machine vision products.

Overall, sales results were mixed for 2007; while smart cameras and ASMV system sales were up over 2006, total component sales were down from the previous year. Smart cameras experienced sales of $116.6 million.

Sales revenues for cameras in 2007 increased 0.8% over 2006 with the number of units sold down slightly. Camera sales are expected to have mixed results in 2008 with sales increasing by 0.2% in terms of revenue and decreasing by -1.0% in terms of units sold. The machine vision lighting market has generally declined in size in terms of revenue, but has grown in terms of units sold, in part affected by the growing popularity of LED products, which have become the dominant lighting technology.

The study, entitled Machine Vision Markets – 2007 Results and Forecasts to 2012, is published by the Automated Imaging Association (AIA), the world's largest and only global machine vision trade group, with over 300 member companies from 26 countries.

Additionally, for the first time, a separate Machine Vision Financial Study is available for purchase (free for AIA members who purchase the Market Study). This study is essential reading for machine vision companies that wish to assess their relative financial health, investors of machine vision companies and those exploring merger and acquisition activities. An easy to use, specially developed analysis tool is included on the CD, which will enable non-publicly traded machine vision companies to benchmark their company's financial performance by comparing their financials to industry averages.