A nearly global recession is affecting business, especially manufacturing, and this has not been good for machinevision companies, says Paul Kellet, director of Marketing Research for the Automated Imaging Assoc., the world’s largest machine-vision trade group. The economic downturn this year, especially in manufacturing, has led to weaker sales of machine-vision equipment. Certain market segments have been hit particularly hard, such as the automotive, industrial equipment manufacturers, and semiconductors, according to preliminary research findings. But there are some relative bright spots. Electric equipment manufacturers, as well as the telecommunication firms have shown some growth, which is reflected in purchases of more machine-vision equipment.

“People make the mistake of looking at the last data points (regarding sales and profits) and extrapolating them well into the future,” says Kellet. “If you do that, however, you will have a doomand- gloom perspective, and not just for short term but long term as well.” In the long term, the Circle 131 demands of the global economy will increase and that will lead to increased demands in machinevision products for the value they bring to manufacturing, test and measurement, and quality control. “And that value will increase in time as global competition increases, notes Kellet.

One way to keep up with the latest in machine-vision equipment and software, as well as standards and other issues, is to attend the Vision Show, a trade show that focuses on machine vision. It rolls into The Phoenix Convention Center from March 31 through April 2. It will include over 60 of the world’s leading machine-vision equipment makers and component suppliers showcasing the latest in cameras, vision software and hardware, frame grabbers, lighting, as well as lenses and optics. Technical experts from these companies will explain their new products and update attendees on important industry issues such as connection standards and “smart” cameras. There is also a long list of technical conference sessions and tutorials covering all aspects of machine vision. The show is sponsored by the Automated Imaging Assoc. For more information, visit http://tinyurl.com/9xvjc9.