According the most recent figures released by its organizers, the Stuttgart VISION 2012 show was still the place to be seen for those involved in the machine vision industry. Testifying to that fact, more than 7,000 visitors attended the 25th anniversary of the show last week, roughly the same number that showed up last year.
Unlike previous years, this year all the exhibitors found themselves under one roof in the L-Bank Forum of the Stuttgart exhibition center. And there were plenty of them for the attendees to visit too -- the 25th anniversary of the show saw no less than 372 exhibitors parading their wares – an increase on the 351 exhibitors that attended the show last year.
And what a sight it was too. Unlike previous years, many smaller- to medium-sized companies had opted for much larger booths at this year's show. In a clear attempt to impress the attendees and outdo their competition, they found themselves cheek by jowl with more well established outfits, dwarfing them with booths that appeared to be almost as high as the Bradbury Building.
There was an increase in the number of those exhibitors that came from outside Germany this year too. While last year saw just 46 per cent of those exhibiting come from further afield, this year, the figure was up to 49 per cent. Representing 32 countries in all, the exhibitors brought with them cameras, vision sensors, frame grabbers, software tools, illumination systems, lenses, accessories as well as complete machine vision systems.
Of the attendees to the show, the organizers say that 85 per cent were involved in purchasing and procurement decisions in their company. As you might expect, most of them were primarily interested in machine vision components and applications. But an increasing number of visitors expressed an interest in turnkey machine vision systems as well.
Aside from checking out the new products on display, the VISION show was also a place where one could gain some insight into how vibrant the vision system industry is. At the VISION Press lunch held on Tuesday November 6, for example, Dr. Olaf Munkelt, the Managing Director of image processing software vendor MVTech Software and Chairman of the Executive Board of the VDMA Machine Vision Group presented an overview of the state of the German machine vision market.
The figures he showed highlighted the fact that the total turnover for machine vision systems in Germany was expected to remain pretty much flat this year, with a growth of just two percent in 2013. But there was better news from outside Germany, where orders for machine vision systems were predicted to rise at a somewhat higher rate.
But not every company is experiencing low growth rates. One executive that I ran into on my way back to England from VISION 2012 claimed that his company had experienced a remarkable 20 per cent growth in orders this year, a trend he clearly expected to continue next year as he was actively looking to hire a number of engineers to meet the demand for his products.
Next year, the VISION 2013 will be staged two months earlier from September 24 to 26 2013, so none of us will have quite as long to wait to get our next dose of machine vision technology.
But will that be long enough for those involved in our industry to really develop any game changing technology? One company owner I spoke to didn't think so. He said that his outfit would be doing no more than demonstrating the same products that he displayed this year. By then, he said, at least his engineering team might have had time to iron out all the bugs in them!