Machine vision is at the heart of automation revolution

Extracted from: Machine Vision for Industry & Automation 2018 report, Yole Développement – February 2018


  • Machine vision camera market will grow from $2B in 2017 to roughly $4B in 2023, with a 12% CAGR.
  • Machine vision for industry & automation: highly dynamic market and player ecosystem.
  • From CCD to CMOS: major modification at the camera level that might lead to the emergence of new players.

LYON, France – February 19, 2018: A silent revolution takes place in factories: transformative forces are similar to what happened during the previous industrial revolutions. Today’s trend is autonomous and on-demand processes, for humans and machines alike. Inside factories the transformation is about automation and Machine Vision is often the key enabling technology, confirms Yole Développement (Yole) in its new technology and market report, Machine Vision for Industry & Automation.
Machine vision being at the heart of this automation the machine vision camera market will grow from US$2 billion in 2017 to roughly US$4 billion in 2023, with a 12% CAGR during this period.
Machine vision for Industry & Automation report from Yole proposes a comprehensive analysis of the machine vision solutions for automation applications. This report is a smart combination of market evolution, key figures such as market project and market shares, technology innovations and competitive landscape. It also highlights the diversity of the applications and related technologies. Synergy between the technologies such as image sensors, cameras and more is deeply analyzed in this new report as well, by Yole’s team.
What are the main functions of machine vision in the industry 4.0? What are the technology challenges? Who are the leaders involved in this revolution? The market research and strategy consulting company Yole tells you the story of a new revolution and invites you to discover the factory 4.0.

Machine vision for industry and automation is not limited to robotics, but is involved in almost all machines and aspects of the manufacturing cycle.
“The need for quality has boosted machine vision in the automotive, electronic, semiconductor, food, and packaging industries”, asserts Dr Alexis Debray, Technology & Market Analyst at Yole. Food sorting is an interesting example of this push toward automation. The ability to sort fruits and food in general has helped to grow agro-food business revenues, especially in Asian markets. Indeed, machine vision has moved out of the factory. It is now on farms, on roadways for license plate recognition, and more recently in autonomous cars, the market for which we expect to grow at 140% CAGR starting this year.
These dynamics are here to stay. In 2014, the Swatch Group announced its Sistem51, the world first mechanical watch whose manufacturing is fully automated. Since then, other companies have made similar moves, such as Canon in camera manufacturing and Foxconn who announced the deployment of a million robots for manufacturing consumer electronic goods. Sales of automation products are therefore surpassing the growth of industrial production. The trend could accelerate in the future while cheap human labor is scarce in western countries and China is also increasing wages.

“The automation revolution has created a highly dynamic market and player ecosystem”, comments Pierre Cambou, Activity Leader, Imaging at Yole. And he details: “In the three years from 2014 to 2017, M&A activity has accelerated in machine vision both at image sensor and camera level. Among the latest examples of this trend are FLIR acquiring Pointgrey for US$215 milion in 2016, and Teledyne acquiring e2v for US$790 million in 2017.”
Yole’s machine vision report mentions other notable acquisitions: 
  •  ams’ acquisition of CMOSIS for US$235 million in 2015
  •  A little earlier in 2014 On Semi’s consolidation of Aptina for US$400 million and Truesense for US$90 million.
  •  Most recently, private equity firm Lakesight aggregated machine vision camera makers Tattile, Microtron and Chromasens. The total amount of M&A in this time period is approaching US$1.7 billion.

The shift from CCD to CMOS has had a profound impact on image sensors for machine vision, driving this M&A wave. Although this affected other markets years ago, such as consumer image sensors in the 1990s and photography sensors in the early 2000s, it is only now that the shift from CCD to CMOS technology is reaching the high end of the imaging sensor market. The main direct consequence for companies selling high cost/low volume products is the inability to invest in or sustain manufacturing facilities that require high output due to the large fixed cost. The entry cost to establishing CIS manufacturing has been far too high for previous vertically-integrated CCD players. Therefore, all except Sony have shifted to the fabless business model suited to high-end “specialty products”. Dedicated foundries such as TPSCo, Dongbu Hitek and SMIC, who recently acquired LFoundry’s assets, have therefore emerged…

A detailed description of this report is available on, imaging reports section.

CAGR: Compound Annual Growth Rate
M&A : Merger and Acquisition
CCD : Charge-Coupled Device

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