VDMA: Machine Vision is booming, lack of chips means longer delivery times

A very high level of incoming orders means good prospects for 2022

06.10.2021 - The forecast has been confirmed: the European machine vision industry will grow by 7 percent in 2021. The order books are full. Only the lack of chips is slowing the machine vision industry, resulting in longer delivery times

“The monthly VDMA order intake and sales statistics show: the order books of the machine vision industry are well filled. The demand for image processing components and systems is very high. Unfortunately, due to the lack of chips, the companies are unable to keep up with production and therefore have to make some compromises in their current production plans, "says Mark Williamson, Chairman of the Board of Management of the VDMA Machine Vision department, on the occasion of the opening of the VISION 2021 trade fair." That is why VDMA remains Machine vision with the forecast of 7 percent growth in sales in the European machine vision industry in the current year. According to the latest survey, we expect renewed growth of 7 percent for 2021. "

Machine vision - a growth industry

In 2020, sales in the European machine vision industry fell by 4 percent compared to the previous year due to the coronavirus. The weak demand in Europe as well as in the automotive, pharmaceutical, metal, plastics and rubber industries was responsible for this, but it was a very good result in comparison with other areas of mechanical engineering. The growth prospects for the coming years remain good. The trend towards “seeing machines” has been unbroken for years. Image processing has established itself as a key component in the global automation race

Non-industrial sectors on the rise

In addition, image processing is constantly conquering new sales markets and fields of application. In 2020, the share of sales in the European machine vision industry in sectors such as medical technology, security, agriculture, intelligent transport systems and retail was already 35 percent; sales there grew by 9 percent. Embedded vision in combination with deep learning will set new growth impulses.

The electronics industry and Asia are the growth drivers

In 2020, the European machine vision industry's sales to the electronics industry (excluding semiconductors) increased by 20 percent and sales to the semiconductor industry grew by 10 percent. Sales to the automotive industry - otherwise the largest customer of the image processing industry - fell by 13 percent. The share of total sales was therefore only 16 percent. Sales to the food and beverage industry stagnated. Europe remains an important sales market for companies: 52 percent of the turnover in the European machine vision industry was achieved in Europe in 2020, 6 percent less than in the previous year. Exports to Asia rose by 3 percent. Sales in China grew by 10 percent. Exports to America rose 5 percent.

Record sales of cameras

The sales of image processing components fell by a total of 2 percent in the 2020 corona year. Industrial cameras were excluded from this. The most important machine vision component, with a share of 27 percent of total sales in the European machine vision industry, recorded a sales increase of 4 percent. In contrast, sales of image processing systems fell by 3 percent.

A lack of chips is a burden on the industry

Many companies are struggling with increasing material and delivery bottlenecks. In the VDMA quick poll at the beginning of September, 81 percent of the mechanical engineering companies from all branches named noticeable or serious impairments in their supply chains. In particular, the scarcity of electrotechnical and electronic components has increased dramatically. Further surveys of the membership of the Machine Vision department show that the machine vision industry is no exception. Camera manufacturers as well as system integrators - there is virtually no company that does not suffer from the lack of chips. The situation has tended to deteriorate over the past three months. An improvement in the next three months is not expected. As a result, companies in the machine vision sector have to cut back on their production plans.


VDMA Verband Deutscher Maschinen- und Anlagenbauer e.V.

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