A new market study shows that 2005 was a good year for the machine-vision and imaging industry and that continued growth is expected in 2006.

Machine-vision market growth to continue

A new market study shows that 2005 was a good year for the machine-vision and imaging industry and that continued growth is expected in 2006. Entitled Machine Vision Markets: 2005 Results and Forecasts to 2010, the study was published by the Automated Imaging Association (AIA; Ann Arbor, MI)-the world’s largest machine-vision trade group, with more than 250 member companies from 24 countries.

Smart cameras experienced the strongest growth in 2005, with a 19.1% increase in units and a 14.4% jump in revenue. Sales of application-specific machine-vision systems rose 13.6% in units and 6.4% in revenue. Fast-growing component markets included cameras, optics, and vision software.

The report anticipates that the market will mature over the next five years, predicting healthy, if more modest, 11.9% growth rate to $174 million in 2010.

Daitron expands CCD camera offering

To expand its product line and provide additional personnel strength to serve its camera hardware customers, Daitron (Wilsonville, OR) has acquired the Chori America CCD Camera Division. According to Toshi Moritani, CEO and president of Daitron, “With this additional expertise and product availability we can better serve the needs of the machine-vision customers and provide streamlined service.” Introduction of new products from Asian sources will also be enhanced by the acquisition.

FLIR awarded military contract

Officials of FLIR Systems (North Billerica, MA) are set to build high-performance mobility (HPM) forward-looking infrared (FLIR) systems. FLIR engineers are doing the work under terms of a $44.9 million U.S. Navy contract option awarded by the Naval Surface Warfare Center (Crane, IN). The HPM provides thermal imaging and image intensification along with laser rangefinder/pointer/designator capability, and provides precise target location in geodetic coordinates and outputs the target position to external global positioning system devices. Work will be finished by September 2009.

CMOS sensor company wins financing

Advasense (Ra’anana, Israel), a privately held fabless semiconductor company, raised $6 million in Series B financing to complete its first product.

Advasense is developing next-generation multimegapixel CMOS image sensors for cellular phones that enable the phones to have the same image quality as stand-alone digital still cameras. The image sensors are unique in their extreme low-light sensitivity-exhibiting a 10x performance improvement compared to current CMOS and CCD sensors-and feature on-chip image stabilization technology.

DALSA changes organization, sees record sales

After undertaking a careful study of the Asia-Pacific markets, DALSA (Waterloo, ON, Canada)-an international semiconductor and electronics company-is establishing a new business unit, DALSA Asia-Pacific, to manage the sales and marketing of all DALSA Digital Imaging standard products in the Asia-Pacific region. The North American and European sales organizations will not change.

In related news, DALSA reported revenue of $46.6 million in the first quarter of 2006, an increase of 26.4% over total revenues for the first quarter of 2005.

Wahl addresses bird flu fears

Amid growing fears of a bird flu pandemic and the threat of the virulent strain spreading through human-to-human transmission, Wahl Instruments (Asheville, NC) announced the Wahl Fever Alert Imaging System designed specifically for mass screening of public areas like air and sea ports, rail and subway stations, and large industrial manufacturing facilities, for individuals with elevated body temperatures. An increased body temperature, or fever, from the “normal” (98.6°F, or 37°C) is often a good clinical indication of possible infection. The small Wahl imager can resolve surface temperature differences of ± 0.5°C.

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Also in the news . . .

Dalsa (Waterloo, ON, Canada) received a contract valued at $1.3 million to develop and supply CMOS image-sensor chips over the next 12 months for a leading manufacturer of dental x-ray equipment. . . . e2v technologies (Essex, England) was recognized with its 12th United Kingdom Queen’s Award for Enterprise, granted in the Innovation category for the design and manufacture of imaging sensors and cameras. . . . Global shipments of large flat panels for use in public displays and digital signs jumped a surprising 44% in the fourth quarter of 2005 reports market research firm DisplaySearch (Austin, TX) in its recent Quarterly FPD Public Display Shipment and Forecast Report. . . . Solar-powered LED lights from Orion Solar Solutions (Mudgeeraba, Queensland, Australia) were installed at Southport Flying Club on Australia’s Gold Coast to replace unreliable hard-wired lights.

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