Market Insight

New Era for Artificial Intelligence in Industrial Machine Vision

April 04, 2018

Shirly Zhu Shirly Zhu Analyst, Electric Motor Systems

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LASER World of PHOTONICS CHINA 2018, the largest exhibition for the laser and photonics industries in Asia, was held 14-16 March in Shanghai, and the exhibition set a new record with nearly 56,000 visitors this year.

Vision China 2018 was one of the major themes of the exhibition, with more than 200 exhibitors from 13 countries. Intelligent manufacturing, artificial intelligence, big data, 3D vision, VR technology, machine vision, and smart factory were the buzzwords at the exhibition.

3D Imaging in industrial machine vision

In the Machine Vision Report – 2017, IHS Markit estimates that the world industrial machine vision market will be worth $3.5 billion in 2016 and the Asia Pacific region will lead world market growth at an annualized growth rate of 9% from 2016 to 2021.

The remarkable advantages of 3D vision, such as high precision, high extension capability, etc. are attracting increased interest from users. IHS Markit predicts that, despite its limited market presence, 3D imaging will grow 16% by 2021.

Robotics technology is playing an increasingly important role in the China Manufacturing 2025 scheme, and the synergies between machine vision and robotics technology have tremendously boosted the manufacturing industry. Industrial robotics integrators are faced with the challenge of maintaining robots with high-speeds within the complex vision recognition environment (i.e., robotics for sorting). Currently, leading international suppliers dominate the 3D vision market for industrial areas. For instance, Germany-based ISRA’s 3D machine vision offerings under its IntelliPICK 3D system and MONO2.5D/MONO3D system, and Cognex’s Vision Pro 3D.

Emerging deep learning technology for machine vision

Deep learning is a buzzword in the market. It is a subfield of machine learning concerned with algorithms inspired by the structure and function of the brain, which are also called artificial neural networks. They have been applied to various fields including computing vision, speed recognition, natural language processing, and social network filtering, where they have produced results comparable and in some cases superior to human experts.

Leading machine vision suppliers are actively exploring and developing market opportunities for deep learning. Cognex acquired ViDi Systems in 2017, a company that developed deep learning software for industrial machine vision. Last year, MVTec released its Halcon software with deep learning functions.

Deep learning-based machine vision is a new concept for the Chinese market, but it is gaining traction. MVTec just started promoting its product in China through its distributor Daheng Group, and Cognex will officially launch a product in China later this year. SUALAB exhibited its SuaKIT software – deep learning based machine vision solutions – at the Vision China fair. An industry expert said, “Suppliers need to educate end users, who are taking a wait-and-see attitude due to concerns over accuracy, high purchase prices, and ROI. However, the industrial machine vision market is very dynamic and developing fast. Deep learning is the future and expected to widely penetrate over the next three to five years.”

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Manufacturing Technology
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