Vision’s view of single standard

Automated optical inspection got a bit of boost late last year when three international associations said they’d work together on standards. That’s a good sign for an industry that’s suffering through the current downturn.

In November, the Automated Imaging Association, European Machine Vision Association and Japan Industrial Imaging Association agreed to cooperatively develop and promote global machine vision standards. Previously, each developed its own standards.

That should help the industry recover. In May, IMS Research reduced its worldwide 2008 – 2009 forecast for machine vision hardware downward, from 7% growth to a 13.4% decline.

The international standards agreement should make it easier for companies to create one product line that can be sold anywhere. If true international standards do indeed develop.

Though the associations plan to work together, the groups left themselves a fallback position. When they agree that an issue needs standardization, a lead association will develop the standard that will be mutually promoted. If there is no consensus on the need for a global standard, the associations can develop standards on their own.

Nonetheless, executives focused on the potential for agreement. “This accord will benefit machine vision users and suppliers alike by accelerating the pace of standards development, avoiding overlapping efforts, and creating more awareness of new standards,” said Jeff Burnstein, AIA President.

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