Machine Vision: What's Ahead?

Published - Mar 2000| Analyst - Marlene Bourne| Code - IAS010A
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Report Highlights

  • Machine vision, the combination of cameras, lighting and software to capture and analyze moving images, is distinguished from other electronic imaging technologies because it is specifically associated with industrial manufacturing. In the 1980s, machine vision emerged as a means to improve the manufacturing process, and its use has been growing steadily ever since.
  • The trend towards total quality and recent advances in machine vision technology are working in tandem to open the doors for machine vision in a wider variety of markets and applications. Machine vision systems have been critical in helping meet the growing demand by consumers for high quality, defect-free products.
  • Manufacturers of all kinds are realizing the benefits of using machine vision in conjunction with automated, high-speed processes to increase productivity, improve product quality, and reduce waste. As the technology continues to develop, the applications for which machine vision can be used will certainly expand as well.

INTRODUCTION

REASONS FOR DOING THE STUDY

Machine vision, the combination of cameras, lighting and software to capture and analyze moving images, is distinguished from other electronic imaging technologies because it is specifically associated with industrial manufacturing. In the 1980s, machine vision emerged as a means to improve the manufacturing process, and its use has been growing steadily ever since.

The trend towards total quality and recent advances in machine vision technology are working in tandem to open the doors for machine vision in a wider variety of markets and applications. Machine vision systems have been critical in helping meet the growing demand by consumers for high quality, defect-free products.

Once complex and expensive, systems are now smaller, smarter and far less costly than their predecessors have been. Although the vast majority of machine vision systems are highly application-specific, new general-purpose systems are emerging that require no programming, can fit in the hand, and cost only several thousand dollars.

Manufacturers of all kinds are realizing the benefits of using machine vision in conjunction with automated, high-speed processes to increase productivity, improve product quality, and reduce waste. As the technology continues to develop, the applications for which machine vision can be used will certainly expand as well.

STUDY OBJECTIVES

This BCC report is designed to provide an overview of current technology developments and an assessment of the commercial potential of machine vision systems within the United States.

The goals of this report are to:

  • create an overview of machine vision components and system technology;
  • identify companies that are actively engaged in the development and manufacture of machine vision systems;
  • assess new developments by analyzing patents granted within a 2-year period prior to the publication of this report;
  • identify technological, business, and consumer issues that could impact the future growth and commercialization of this technology;
  • evaluate the potential of machine vision technology in key markets, as well as in current and promising future end-use applications; and
  • provide an understanding of the market and technology so that decision makers are able to evaluate and consider the potential opportunities arising from the advances in machine vision.

INTENDED AUDIENCE

This report strives to provide an understanding of machine vision technology, its products, and markets. As such, BCC wrote this report for the following persons:

  • Manufacturers
  • Research and development firms
  • Government and private laboratories
  • Investment and financial executives
  • Others interested in this technology.

SCOPE AND CONTENT

This report is an analytical tool with the objective of examining machine vision technology, its resulting products, and application potential in key markets. The report first provides an overview of what machine vision is, its development history, and issues that may impact the continued growth and commercialization of such systems.

The report looks at the structure of those involved in the research, development, design, and manufacture of machine vision components and systems, and provides profiles of U.S. manufacturers, as well as of key competitors abroad. The report also includes sections on key technologies, including cameras, lighting and software technology, as well as discussion of new developments via research activities and recently issued patents. A considerable portion of the report is spent assessing key markets. Appendices include abstracts of recent patents.

METHODOLOGY AND INFORMATION SOURCES

BCC obtained the information presented within this report from interviews with manufacturers, universities, and government laboratories, as well as from reviewing secondary sources, such as company literature, white papers, and related government data. BCC based data projections on a variety of factors including technology developments, key issues, commercial reality, and placement of this technology within the product lifecycle, among other conditions, which BCC discusses where appropriate. All dollar projections are in 1999 constant dollars.

Table of Contents & Pricing

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