ANN ARBOR, MI—Total machine vision sales in North America are down 4% year-over-year for the first nine months of 2012, according to new statistics from AIA, the industry’s trade group.

The decrease in total machine vision sales resulted primarily from the weakening of machine vision system sales through September 2012, which fell 5%.  Despite the overall decline, certain machine vision components have enjoyed positive year-over-year growth through the first nine months of 2012:  imaging boards (11%), Lighting (7%), and cameras (1%).

“We are disappointed but not surprised to see a decline through September,” says AIA President Jeff Burnstein.  “Machine vision has typically tracked with the performance of manufacturing, which in four out of the last six months has contracted.  Hopefully a resolution to the so-called ‘fiscal cliff’ will bring expansion back to manufacturing, as companies feel more comfortable spending on automation.”

Alex Shikany, AIA’s director of market analysis, added “While the first nine months of 2012 are down for machine vision thus far, industry experts are optimistic for the future.  Recently, when surveyed about where the market was heading in the next six months, the majority of the experts believe sales will increase (49%) or stay flat (49%).  Only  2% expect an overall decrease in performance of machine vision sales.”  AIA will report year end 2012 statistics at the 21st annual AIA Business Conference in Orlando, February 20-22, 2013.