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Machine Vision and X-Ray Inspection Systems Hold Huge Potential

September 6, 2007

A Frost & Sullivan report foresees market growth driven by technological developments and decreasing prices.


DUBLIN, Ireland /BUSINESS WIRE/ -- Research and Markets has announced the addition of Frost & Sullivan's new report: World Machine Vision and X-Ray Inspection Systems Markets to their offering.

This research titled World Machine Vision and X-ray Inspection Equipment Markets provides a detailed analysis of market drivers and restraints. It also describes the challenges faced by machine vision and X-ray equipment vendors, and provides strategic recommendations to overcome them, along with revenue, end user, and geographical analysis. Frost & Sullivan's expert analysts thoroughly examine the following end user segments: electronics manufacturing, medical/life sciences, automotive, aerospace and defense, and others.

Market Sectors
Expert analysts thoroughly examine the following market sectors in this research:

  • Machine vision inspection equipment
  • X-ray inspection equipment

Technologies
The following technologies are covered in this research:

  • Smart Cameras: These small digital cameras have onboard processors that enable them to capture accurate measurements by sorting various components by shape and color. By having all the necessary built-in interfaces, and eliminating the need for frame grabbers, smart cameras can be offered at lower overall costs.

     

  • Ethernet Connectivity: Ethernet is a convenient component to many of the user-friendly software packages currently in use. This allows for an effortless connection process of machine vision systems to industrial networks. Ease in connectivity is likely to lead to ease in overall use, as well as higher reliability rates.

     

  • IEEE 1394 Serial Bus: This technology has steadily replaced older analog-based systems. The interface does not require a computer host to function and, therefore, can produce higher sustained data transfer rates.

     

  • Digital Systems: These offer a deeper grey scale, better signal quality, and higher resolution images for inspection purposes.

     

  • Amorphous Silicon Technology: This technology, which is prevalent in a wide array of industrial and medical applications, allows X-ray systems to achieve high resolution, yielding over 65,000 gray scales for analysis. The adoption of a-Si technology allows for flat images to be produced; this flatness alleviates any distortion that might otherwise appear around the corners of the images.

     

  • CMOS Sensor Technology: Cameras equipped with complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) sensors with constantly-improving resolution, will soon capture the overall market lead from those equipped with charge-coupled device sensors. Driven by high consumer demand, CMOS sensors will continue to improve while increasing their applicability to an increasing number of inspection protocols.

     

  • Storage Phosphor Plates: SPPs are systems for capturing digital-based images. They allow for the convenient development and deletion of X-ray images. Once an image is created and analyzed, SPP technology can erase the image so that a new one can take its place.

     

  • Picture Archiving and Communication Systems: The wide adoption PACS, which simplifies the manner in which images are maintained and retrieved, eliminates the need for excessive storage devices, many of which are bulky and take up a large amount of space.

Technological Developments and Decreasing Prices
The increasing acceptance of machine vision and X-ray inspection equipment as cost-effective quality-assurance tools has led to a considerable increase in their sales. This improvement in market prospects can be largely attributed to the intensive R&D efforts and investments of many vendors in the machine vision and X-ray inspection equipment market. Due to the successful R&D initiatives, innovative products are currently offered to consumers at notably lower prices. Recent significant machine vision trends, namely the use of high-speed smart cameras and the shift from analog to digital interfaces, have improved the overall consumption rates among users that desire accurate inspection equipment.

As the market shifts from film-based imaging to digital imaging, most X-ray equipment can conduct real-time inspection using CMOS sensors and amorphous silicon technology, which enable quick acquisition of high-resolution images. With the continual improvements in the throughput and measurement speed of machine vision systems, such technology is finding wider acceptance among various end users.

"Ease in connectivity is likely to lead to greater facility in overall use, as well as higher reliability rates," says the analyst of this research service. "Consumer demand for various products that need inspection by machine vision is constantly increasing."

Given the user friendliness of emerging technologies, next-generation equipment can be used in a wide variety of inspection applications, across many industries, including medical and life sciences, electronics manufacturing, automotive, aerospace, and military and defense.

Overall Revenues to Rise Steadily
Numerous smaller manufacturers do not find it viable to invest in the high-priced machine vision and X-ray inspection equipment. "While many machine vision and X-ray equipment manufacturers have successfully shifted toward digital-based systems, some vendors have yet to embrace this movement." notes the analyst. "With these companies experiencing a subsequent decline in revenues, such a slow adoption of emerging digital technology may ultimately hinder the overall revenues for both the machine vision and X-ray inspection markets."

To remain competitive, machine vision manufacturers must possess a sufficient degree of expertise while performing complete system integration. They should educate end users on using the machine vision equipment, as well as adhere to international regulatory standards to gain global market acceptance. While North America and Europe have traditionally been significant contributors to the overall revenues of the machine vision and X-ray inspection markets, Asia Pacific is beginning to emerge as a major participant in each market, enhancing overall market growth.

For more information, visit the company's Web site.


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