ANN ARBOR — Machine vision sales in North America fell 2 percent compared to the first quarter of 2011, according to new statistics from AIA, the industry’s trade group.

The decline resulted primarily from sales of complete vision systems, which account for the largest sales volumes in the North American market.

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However, sales of machine vision components gained 2 percent, led by strong growth in vision software (up 26 percent), lighting products (up 11 percent) and imaging boards (up 7 percent). Smart camera sales rose four percent while optics sales were up one percent in the first quarter.

“We are not surprised by the slight overall decline in growth,” said AIA President Jeff Burnstein.  “First quarter 2011 sales were exceptionally robust, occurring during the height of the market recovery.  Though the market has cooled down a bit, the long term growth trend remains strong.”

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Paul Kellett, AIA’s director of market analysis, added: “Because of the strength of sales in the first half of 2011, we do not expect a dramatic increase in year-over-year growth in the near term.”

Industry executives appear to agree with this assessment, with a majority (57 percent) expecting flat sales in the next two quarters of 2012, 30 percent expecting a relative decline in sales, and 14 percent anticipating an increase for the same time period.

AIA’s Quarterly Machine Vision Sales Tracking Report is available free of charge to all AIA members participating in AIA’s sales data program.  In addition to its sales tracking report, AIA recently prepared a comprehensive Machine Vision Camera Market Study available at a discounted rate to AIA members.  AIA also prepares market opportunity studies, which it makes available to all AIA members free of charge on its website, Vision Online.

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