Three machine vision trade associations signed an agreement today at the Vision 2009 show in Stuttgart to jointly develop machine vision standards. In the past, the European Machine Vision Association (EMVA), the Japan Industrial Imaging Association (JIIA) and the Automated Imaging Association (AIA) each developed its own standards. Those legacy standards will remain in place, but they will be replaced with a joint standard when there is consensus on the global need. The global standards cooperative agreement was signed by Shigeo Oka, chairman of JIIA, Mats Gökstorp, president of EMVA, and John Merva, director of AIA. “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, president of AIA. SETTING THE GLOBAL STANDARD: JIIA Chairman Shigeo Oka (l-r), EMVA President Mats Gökstorp and AIA Director John Merva sign the global standards cooperation agreement on machine vision in Stuttgart, Germany, today at the Vision 2009 trade fair. (Photo: Messe Stuttgart)Oka noted that JIIA proposed the idea of a global standardization process because of its benefit to the industry. “It is especially rewarding that this agreement is now signed. We congratulate all of the machine vision players and look forward to further cooperation,” he said. Patrick Schwarzkopf, general secretary for the EMVA, said that cooperation will help promote machine vision technology in all markets. “It will increase the global information flow during the standards development process and help the standards to become established internationally.” Machine vision, which accounts for more than $5 billion in annual sales worldwide, is a critical technology for users in industries such as automotive, electronics, food and beverage, lab automation, pharmaceuticals and security. New markets include medical imaging, energy, entertainment and other nonmanufacturing sectors. The three industry groups believe that the new standards will help stimulate growth in machine vision, which has been slow to recover from the global economic downturn. Paul Kellett, director of market analysis for the AIA, said that sales in machine vision markets are still down and won’t improve until capital budgets increase (The timing of the recovery of the machine vision industry is the topic of Kellett’s talk tomorrow, Nov. 4, at AIA’s networking reception at Vision 2009, hall 6 at 5 p.m.). Representatives from the three trade groups said they hope to add leaders from other associations in the future as new groups emerge to represent new and growing machine vision industries in countries such as India and China. For more information, please visit the AIA, EMVA or JIIA Web sites.