Automation proposition undiminished, say vision industry bodies

Greg Blackman listened to what the heads of the AIA, EMVA, VDMA Machine Vision, and UKIVA had to say about the state of the vision industry in a recent IMVE webcast

Allan Anderson

Chairman UK Industrial Vision Association (UKIVA)

Jeff Burnstein

President, AIA – Advancing Vision + Imaging

Anne Wendel

Director, VDMA Machine Vision Group

Chris Yates

President, European Machine Vision Association (EMVA)


he appetite for vision and automation remains strong. Demand is likely to increase once restrictions around

movement of people and goods are eased – but there is still a lot of uncertainty in vision industry markets at the present time. Tese were the views of the heads of the

AIA, EMVA, VDMA Machine Vision, and UKIVA during a webinar, hosted by Imaging and Machine Vision Europe, discussing the industry's response to the Covid-19 crisis. Chris Yates, president of the European

Machine Vision Association, commented that there is still demand for machine vision and projects are continuing, from what the EMVA has been hearing from its members. Tis is particularly the case in industries

like e-commerce, food and beverage, logistics, and electronics, although other sectors like automotive production have been hit hard.

Allan Anderson, chairman of the UK

Industrial Vision Association, said that projects aren't being cancelled, but are being delayed. 'Many UKIVA member companies are seeing the downturn and things put on pause. But it's a delay; it's not cancellations,' he said. Te vision industry serves many sectors,

which is one of its strengths in the current crisis. It also doesn't work at high volumes, which means companies can continue operating without seeing a significant impact from supply chain disruption, Yates said – at least in the short-term. However, this might change depending on the extent of the lockdown. 'Different companies will feel this in

different ways, but I expect for all companies there is a focus on conserving cash,' Yates said. 'Tis is only really a rational response to the uncertainty we feel at the moment.'


Yates added that the largest unknown in

the current crisis is how long lockdown will continue in different countries, where firms can't act and trade as is normal. 'Most companies in the automation sector

will be looking at planning for some kind of reduced trading for a six-month period,' he said. 'Tey will almost certainly be hoping for a three-month period as a best-case outcome. At the other end of the scale, a nine-month period of this type of reduced trading will start to see significant effects across the industry.' However, he concluded: 'Te overall

proposition of the automation and vision industry is completely undiminished by this crisis. It will certainly affect us all; it will affect business, it will certainly affect our attitudes, but the fundamental drivers of the economy of the [vision] industry remain, and in some cases are strengthened.' Success stories for machine vision during

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