The machine vision systems market has taken giant strides forward, aided by the availability of high computing power with multi-core processors and constant decrease in the cost of computer memory. Fast-paced innovation in machine vision integration with advanced image processing algorithms has enabled vision systems to be deployed in an ever-increasing range of applications in industrial automation.

The new technologies are utilized in large manufacturing plants for various tasks, such as yes/no quality assessment or accurate 3D measurements. However, improvements are still needed in imaging resolution, rate of image acquisition, and speed of data processing. Machine vision hardware makes vision useful for robotic guidance tasks, which are poised for further advancement in the coming years.

Analysis from Frost & Sullivan (, Machine Vision and Vision Guided Robotics for Factory Automation, finds that the frontier between industrial vision systems and industrial shape measurement systems is disappearing. The latest vision systems are able to provide highly accurate 3D shape information in close to real time. Such systems are used for quality measures as well as for intelligent system control.

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“Machine vision technology has been made affordable for plants located in developing economies, opening up new avenues of opportunity for machine vision developers,” notes Technical Insights Research Analyst Igor Derylo. “As prices for vision components continuously decrease, human-to-machine replacement becomes profitable.”

The role of industrial vision is going to be particularly important in the process of manufacturing transition from flexibility concept that is based on product standardization to one that enables product customization. It is extremely difficult to make a standard machine vision system, as there are so many manufacturing sectors to cover and so many different specifics. This application diversity however, drives development of vision systems.

There are many technology challenges that vary from application to application; some customers want high speed 3D, while some require high camera resolution; some of the customers expect both these features in the product. Therefore, industrial vision integrators are early adopters of technologies, such as reconfigurable instruction set processors. High-end industrial vision technology requires enhanced data acquisition, transmission, processing, and storage power.

On the flipside, there is the production of fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) that are relatively low cost. The FMCG markets and growing economies are awaiting low-cost vision systems. The availability of off-the-shelf components gives machine vision integrators the freedom of customized system design. A decrease in component price might accelerate adoption of machine vision systems.

“Developers of high-end systems are early adopters of novel components such as imaging sensors and processors; they quickly benefit from novelties available in the market,” says Derylo. “However closer cooperation with component developers could result in increased development rate of vision systems.”

Machine Vision and Vision Guided Robotics for Factory Automation, a part of the Technical Insights subscription, provides an insight into the prevailing trends in the industrial vision industry and also details adoption factors, market drivers, and challenges. Further, this research service includes detailed technology analysis and industry trends evaluated following extensive interviews with market participants.