The machine vision and imaging industry showed strong growth in 2005, and the trend is expected to continue in 2006, according to a study conducted by the Automated Imaging Association of Ann Arbor, Mich. Titled “Machine Vision Markets — 2005 Results and Forecasts to 2010,” the report focuses on the market in North America, while presenting some global data for cross-geographic comparisons. The study revealed that smart cameras experienced the strongest growth in 2005, with an increase of 19.1 percent in units and 14.4 percent in revenue, and that sales of application-specific machine vision systems rose 13.6 percent in units and 6.4 percent in revenue. It indicated that cameras, optics and vision software were among the rapidly expanding component markets. Imaging boards, however, generated less revenue because of a decline in the average unit price, and lighting revenue continued its pattern of decline of recent years.The report suggests that the machine vision market in North America has a bright future, although not without some challenges. For example, optics suppliers must sell a significantly larger number of units at lower prices to achieve robust sales, and camera manufacturers will need to embrace rapidly changing technologies to create opportunities. Medical imaging, drug discovery and laboratory automation could represent large markets in the area of nonmanufacturing machine vision applications. Specialized knowledge of these markets and effective entry strategies will be required to realize this potential, according to the study. More information about the report can be found at www.machinevisiononline.org.