ANN ARBOR, MI--The North American machine vision market grew 26 percent in 2000, according to a study released by the Automated Imaging Association (AIA). The 2000 worldwide market for machine vision totaled approximately $6.2 billion, with North America accounting for 34 percent, Japan 30 percent and Europe 24 percent.

Gains in the machine vision market were fueled by the semiconductor and electronics industries, though 2000 saw significant increases in sales to the pharmaceutical, medical and printing industries.

"Machine vision hardware and software costs are declining as performance is improving," says Jeffrey A. Burnstein, AIA executive director. "This creates many new market opportunities for machine vision technology in a wider range of industries than ever before."

While 2001 is off to a weak start for the industry, this is a result of slowdowns in capital equipment expenditures, not in a decline in demand for machine vision, according to Burnstein.