11 Oct 2021
Around 5,400 trade visitors attended last week's Stuttgart machine vision expo; industry award winners named.VISION, the machine vision expo.
This year, unsurprisingly, the majority of visitors came from Europe. Organizer and host Messe Stuttgart reported that the “top 10 countries from outside Germany were Italy, Switzerland, France, Austria, the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Poland, the United Kingdom and Sweden.” But contrary to expectations, visitors from the USA, Korea, Japan and Taiwan did make it to VISION despite the travel restrictions and quarantine regulations.
In its capacity as the promotional supporter of VISION, German industry association VDMA Machine Vision affirmed the positive mood in the industry during the event. According to the Association, the order books in the machine vision industry are “well-filled and the demand for components and systems is at a consistently high level.” However, looking back at 2020, turnover in the European machine vision industry had fallen by 4 per cent compared with business in 2019.
7% growth forecast
The VDMA Robotics + Automation Association expects turnover in the European machine vision industry to rise again by 7 per cent in 2021. According to Mark Williamson, Chairman of the Board of the VDMA Machine Vision Division, this was reflected in the mood during VISION 2021.
One drawback in regard to turnover development is the continuing worldwide shortage of chips: “Camera manufacturers and system integrators – there is practically no company which is not suffering due to the lack of chips. Although this is not leading to a downturn on the market, it is dampening growth prospects,” said Williamson.
A survey by the European Machine Vision Association (EMVA) prior to VISION confirmed the importance of in-person trade fairs: 60 per cent of the survey respondents said that they were only able to partly attain their targets regarding new customer acquisition in the last 12 months without the opportunity for personal meetings.
EMVA also noted, “VISION now provided a platform again for precisely these business contacts. [in relation to Covid] the participants (95%) always felt safe at the trade fair on account of the hygiene concept.”
Attendance at VISION was particularly worthwhile for exhibitor and sensor developer Prophesee, of Paris, France. Prophesee's event-based vision sensor technology is inspired by the human retina. As one of the four companies on the nomination list, Prophesee was presented with the traditional VISION Award on the second day of the trade fair.
Co-founder and CEO Luca Verre commented, "We want to make a new contribution in an industry which has been working for many years with conventional, frame-based vision technology. We are representative of a trend at VISION to show new technology approaches that originate, for example, in mobile radio, medicine or the Internet of Things.”
A significant number of start-ups were showcased in the Startup World area of the exhibition. 15 newcomers also took part in the daily start-up pitch sessions. On the last day of the trade fair, a jury selected from the individual day-winners GrAI Matter Labs as the “VISION Start-up 2021” for its development of its energy-efficient Life-Ready AI Chip. The company is optimistic that this will help to increase the production of AI chips in Europe.
VISION will next be held from 4 to 6 October 2022 – concurrently with the Motek trade fair – and thereafter again every two years. All talks from this year’s Industrial VISION Days are now available on demand on the VISION website.