ANN ARBOR, MI - The Automated Imaging Association (AIA), a machine vision trade group, announced that membership has reached a record high of 304 companies from 27 nations. Soliton Technologies of Bangalore, India, the first Indian company to design and manufacture machine vision cameras, became AIA's 300th member. "Soliton Technologies is proud to become the 300th member of AIA, the world's leading machine vision trade association, and looks forward to helping AIA expand its global efforts to promote the machine vision industry." said Ganesh Devaraj, Managing Director & CEO of Soliton upon joining AIA.

"It is fitting that a company from India is our 300th member," said Jeffrey A. Burnstein, AIA's Executive Vice President who has been with the association since its founding in 1984. "One of the keys to our successful growth is the decision by our Board of Directors more than a decade ago to become a truly global trade association by accepting members from around the world and promoting the industry in every corner of the globe. In fact, Dana Whalls and I will lead AIA's first Mission to India in September 2008 as we attempt to find new opportunities for our members in this rapidly developing nation," he added.

"The machine vision industry has always been a strong and loyal supporter of its trade association, and AIA's growth is a result of this outstanding support. It is gratifying to achieve this new membership level; as more companies get involved with the association, the more effective AIA can be in reaching out to new industries and new global markets and helping our member companies succeed," said Michael Cyros, AIA President and President of Allied Vision Technologies, Inc. "As emerging markets heat up we expect increased membership and a rapid jump to the next level," added Cyros.

"We've seen the growth of our industry and trade association go from a small group of companies in the early 1980's to a multi-billion dollar global marketplace driven by hundreds of successful companies," said Dana Whalls, Managing Director of AIA. Worldwide, machine vision industry sales were $5.2 billion in 2007 and are expected to reach $6.8 billion by 2012. Whalls attributes the growth to the fact that more companies in a wider variety of industries are utilizing machine vision and imaging technologies to automate their processes, increase quality, improve productivity, and ultimately reduce costs.

Founded in 1984, AIA was organized specifically to promote the use of image capture and analysis technology. Originally AIA represented companies who focused on factory automation applications of machine vision. Today the technology has expanded to applications such as medical imaging, biometrics, security, life sciences, entertainment, and intelligent transportation, among others.

The AIA plays a key role in helping grow the global marketplace by providing education and promoting machine vision throughout the world. Among AIA's leading activities are trade shows and educational conferences in North America, networking events in Europe and Asia, and Machine Vision Online, an online resource for machine vision information.

Other key AIA activities include the administration of global machine vision standards. Camera Link® and GigE Vision™ are two of the predominantly used communication protocol standards used today. Standards help lower manufacturing cost and get products out to the marketplace faster. Users benefit from increased interoperability between machine vision components. "AIA produces a comprehensive annual market study (with five year forecast) which its members rely on to help them build successful business strategies," said Whalls.