In 2024, the global machine vision market is expected to make a turnaround and record single-digit growth of around 1.4% according to recent data from market intelligence specialist Interact Analysis.
This comes after a slower year for the market in 2023 where total revenues reached $6.3 billion, down slightly from the $6.5 billion recorded in 2022. Despite continued growth of automation – a key driver for the use of machine vision systems – price pressures presented challenges for vendors in 2023.
Interact Analysis expects these price pressures to persist through the first half of 2024 before order books begin to refill in the second half of the year, hence the lower growth rate projected for the year. Recovery for the machine vision market is expected to start in 2025 and continue through the decade which the research firm says is in line with its predictions for manufacturing and machinery production growth.
Sparkes noted there are three key vendors in the machine vision market which account for much of the sector’s revenues. However, new companies continue to enter the market as well, bringing with them new technologies and application uses.
“Despite a plethora of mergers and acquisitions in recent years, the machine vision market is still considered fragmented. New vendors continue to enter the market, with over 200 active worldwide,” said Sparkes. “We are seeing increasing activity from new vendors in China in particular, as well as in those territories where machine vision products are increasingly being used for autonomous driving and bin-picking.”
3D Cameras to be Strong Driver for Market Growth
Within the machine vision market, Interact Analysis sees 3D cameras being the product type which will provide the strongest growth potential. This is due to the rising implementation of mobile robots and robotic picking, key users of 3D cameras.
While the machine vision market itself is forecast to grow 6.4%, 3D cameras are expected to achieve a CAGR of 13% through 2028, reaching a value of about $1.6 billion.
Time-of-flight and stereo-vision cameras are anticipated to provide the highest levels of growth. Both can be used to detect objects and are thus often used with mobile robots; therefore, the projected growth of the mobile robots market in the coming years will lead to improved market conditions for these two 3D camera types as well.
Although these two camera types are cheaper than structured light and laser triangulation 3D cameras, they have gained more market share in recent years. Interact Analysis is forecasting stereo-vision cameras will achieve a CAGR of 19% and time-of-flight options a rate of 17.3% through 2028.
The research firm sees continued price reductions being a key driver for the rising use of 3D cameras. This will enable manufacturers to use a single camera in place of several 2D versions while getting the same, if not better, detection capabilities and enabling more compact designs – leading to faster response times for robots as well.
New camera vendors are continually entering the market which is helping to bring down costs as well as improve technological capabilities.
Use of 3D cameras in autonomous driving and bin-picking applications will help this segment’s future growth trajectory as well given these are the application uses with the largest growth potential for the overall machine vision market.
Interact Analysis reports the mobile robot market, where autonomous driving is currently most available, grew 33% in 2022 and further growth is expected in the coming years. The firm also notes that substantial year-on-year growth in sales for picking robots will help drive further expansion of the 3D camera market.
Overall, positive conditions are expected for the machine vision market as sectors such as manufacturing continue to increase their use of automation solutions.