Growth for international trade fair for machine vision

The 26th VISION, the international trade fair for machine vision, closed with a double record. “Our expectations have been surpassed”, stated Thomas Walter, vice president, Industrial Solutions of Messe Stuttgart. As a result of the change in frequency of the event, the number of visitors increased by 23% compared to 2012. And there is another new record to report with the number of exhibitors at 432.

The growth here is around 16%, whereby the proportion of foreign exhibitors climbed to 53% – i.e. up four percent in comparison to VISION in 2012. “VISION was an absolute success”, also confirmed by Dr. Olaf Munkelt, CEO of the VDMA Machine Vision Association in Frankfurt, and president of MVTec Software. “We are very satisfied with the number and quality of professional visitors. We have received very positive feedback from all sectors of the industry. Thanks to the new two-year cycle, we are also now able to showcase ourselves better. In addition, we are extremely satisfied with the high number of international exhibitors and visitors. It simply shows that VISION is number one internationally in machine vision,” stated Dr Munkelt.

VISION took place for the first time after the newly introduced two-year cycle. The following was revealed in an exhibitor survey: 77% rate the change to the two-year cycle as good to very good. And over half of the exhibitors judged their appearance at this year’s trade fair as more successful than at the previous events. Christof Zollitsch, president of Stemmer Imaging, explained: “With the two-year cycle, the investment of the exhibitors in VISION has increased significantly, and the quality of the stands has also improved considerably. The new frequency is a better reflection of the innovation cycle of our industry than before. The trade fair visitors reap the benefits here and also gain from the overall enhanced quality of VISION.”

Noticeable increase in international interest

8,671 visitors flocked to the Stuttgart trade fair grounds for VISION 2014 from 4th to 6th November. According to a visitor survey, 48% of these visitors travelled over 300 km to the event. “The international visitor interest in VISION has increased considerably”, highlights Thomas Walter. In 2012, 36% of the visitors at VISION travelled from abroad, now this figure is at a good 39%. The visitors came from 58 countries (2012: 53), mainly from Italy, Switzerland, France, Austria, the Netherlands, Great Britain, South Korea, Belgium, Spain and China. Once again the huge interest from Asia is remarkable. The growth in first-time visitors of 59% is also pleasing (2012: 56%). Christof Zollitsch confirmed: “We have a high increase in the number of visitors, primarily from industry, who to date were not yet present at VISION. It is clear that VISION has improved significantly in terms of quantity and quality thanks to the new concept.” “To some extent, this can also be attributed to our enhanced marketing activities”, added Thomas Walter.

Broader offering receives good feedback

The extended offering of VISION 2014 with lots of new campaigns and the abundance of innovations, which took place on an exhibition area of approximately 21,000 square metres (gross), ensured the huge success. The 432 exhibitors from start-up companies to the key players, who came from 31 countries (2012: 32 countries), presented their new developments in the areas of machine vision components and systems such as cameras, image sensors, processing units, framegrabbers, software tools, lighting systems, lenses, cables and accessories, as well as in complete application solutions. The main focus of VISION is still on industrial machine vision, but 41 percent of exhibitors also operate on the non-industrial machine vision market. Most of the exhibitors rated the début of the ‘Traffic VISION’ highlight as good. Jan-Eric Schmitt, Vice President of Sales Vision Components, also confirmed: “The ‘Traffic’ focal point matched our concept very well, because at the start of 2014 we launched an ITS (Intelligent Traffic System) software engine on the market.” The second new highlight ‘VISION 4 Automation’ also received good feedback.

Joint foreign stands facilitate contact

The première of the foreign pavilions, a Chinese pavilion from the CSIG Machine Vision Union (CMVU), a Japanese pavilion from the Japan Industrial Imaging Association (JIIA), as well as a joint stand of the French technology cluster Pole Optitec, was very well received: “It was worthwhile for us to be here at the joint stand of Pole Optitec. The embedding effect facilitates cooperation with other high-tech companies from our region and our customers can be better served thanks to the synergy effects”, states Christophe Blanc, CEO, Phlox in France. “We are satisfied with the visitors. They were highly qualified”, states Yang Lin Feng, Sales Manager of Shenzhen Caliboptics, China.

Solution-oriented with Integration Area and new Application Forum

When viewed from the aspect of technology, according to a survey, visitors to VISION were primarily interested this time in machine vision components, although turnkey systems were still in high demand. And an increasing interest from visitors in machine vision application solutions, as well as services, compared to VISION in 2012, could also be observed. This shows that VISION is on the right road with the trend to enhanced application orientation. “This result adds even more weight to the concept of the Integration Area (IA) and the first supplementary Inspect Application Forum”, states Thomas Walter. As a special area in the trade fair hall, which was solely intended for solution providers and integrators, the IA had 40 exhibitors (2012:26). Their feedback was very satisfactory: “The VISION 2014 trade fair positively surprised us compared to previous years. We were able to see that all familiar players from the Vision network once again showcased themselves at the trade fair. The increase in the number of qualified contact enquiries by no less than 80% alone speaks for itself”, stated Dieter A. Riehl, managing partner of SAC Sirius Advanced Cybernetics. “The trade fair was already going exceptionally well after the first days. We are both a product supplier and a solution integrator, and had an excellent mix of requests, in particular, however, we received very good contacts relating to the solutions business”, reports Axel Telljohann, president of CTMV. “The première of the ‘Inspect Application Forum’ at VISION 2014 was very well received with roughly 100 visitors per day”, according to Joachim Hachmeister from the inspect magazine, a leading organiser. “The audience and keynote speakers appreciated the new format, which offered the opportunity to intensively exchange information and ideas, away from the hustle and bustle of the trade fair”, he added.

Industrial VISION Days and VDMA Technology Days in high demand

Owing to the huge demand from the keynote speakers, for the first time the Industrial VISION Days (IVD) was organised on two stages, meaning the range of presentations could be extended. A total of 67 presentations took place, divided into ten topics. Anne Wendel, organiser of the IVD and Head of the VDMA Machine Vision Association, confirmed: “The Industrial VISION Days once again enjoyed immense popularity, both among the keynote speakers and the public. The rows of chairs were almost completely full at the two stages and many visitors also stood to listen. Many visitors did some preliminary research and came specifically to the presentation topics of interest to them.” Under the motto ‘Research meets Industry’ of the VDMA Technology Days, a total of ten research institutes and spin-offs presented at VISION 2014. “They were very well received, one of the reasons being their prominent positioning near to the East entrance of Hall 1. Many were satisfied in all respects and straight away stated they want to come back again”, is what Anne Wendel experienced.

Positive response to the début of the IPC 4 VISION special stand

For the first time, the focus was on industry PCs (IPC) and embedded PC systems which are ideally suited for complex, demanding machine vision applications. The first-time special stand IPC 4 VISION, in which eleven renowned manufacturers participated, was very well attended, as exhibitors confirmed: “We had many positive experiences: international visitors and excellent technical discussions. We are very satisfied. For us, the IPC stand was an excellent platform since we were also able to speak to industries which are otherwise a little further away from our core business,” said Martin Krenzer, marketing manager Siemens, Simatic IPC/PC-based Automation. Klaus Rottmayr, general manager of ICP Germany reported, “We were satisfied with the many visitors, but were highly impressed by the quality of visitors. They came with very specific enquiries – professionals who know exactly what they want.”

Constantly high quality of visitors

VISION is well-known for its constantly high quality of professional visitors, which also proved true this time round too. According to a survey, every third visitor is active in development, followed by research, as well as members of the Board of Management. 84% of respondents (2012: 84%) said they were involved in purchasing and procurement decisions in their company. VISION targets a broad spectrum of industrial sectors. Broken down into industrial sectors, approximately 75% (2012: 76%) of visitors are employed in the industry and an increasing number of people came from the services sector. The vast majority of visitors could once again be allocated to the machine vision industry. The automotive and components supply industry comes in second place, followed by the electrical engineering/electronics industry, the mechanical engineering sector and finally the pharmaceutical industry and medical technology, as well as precision mechanics and optical industries.

Willingness to invest continues

Professional visitors also indicated a willingness to invest, a trend that is virtually uninterrupted. According to a survey, 83% of visitors to VISION 2014 (2012: 87%) intend to invest and the majority of them within the next six months. The planned purchase volume shows an increasing tendency compared to that of 2012. This also underlines the upwards trend in market growth and the promising outlook for the machine vision sector, which experts generally rate as good. In recent years, VISION has become a unique leading international trade fair for the machine vision industry. Over half of the visitors are expecting the significance of this presentation and information platform for the industry to grow. 96 percent of exhibitors believe VISION will remain just as important or its significance will increase. Reasons cited include: The market continues to grow, machine vision is required in more and more industries and the international relevance continues to increase. The exhibitors are still very satisfied with the Baden-Württemberg trade fair location, and in 2016, VISION will open its doors again from 8th to 10th November. According to a survey, 93% of the visitors already know now that they want to come back again and almost all plan on recommending the trade fair. “Messe Stuttgart would like to thank all partners who helped to make VISION into a unique and leading global information and presentation platform for machine vision,” said Thomas Walter.

Some exhibitor testimonials on VISION 2014:

Markus Schnitzlein, president, Chromasens: “The trade fair went extremely well. The first two days were much better than we expected. There were fewer visitors on the last day, but overall it was an excellent trade fair. We had many regular customers at our stand. A good deal of new projects are coming our way. We primarily use VISION as a platform for partner meetings in order to discuss new cooperative ventures. Compared to 2012, we had the feeling that there was significantly more prospective customers from Asia. A good quarter of our sales can be attributed to Asia. For us, Asian partners are currently the main drivers on the market.”

Roberto Polesel, CEO of Euclid Labs, Italy: “For us, VISION was an unexpected success. I am certain that we will be here again in two years time with a larger stand. We are particularly impressed with the highly qualified contacts we were able to establish. The visitors are very competent and were in search of solutions we can provide. I initially assumed VISION is a European trade fair, but it transpired ultimately that we were able to acquire a distributor for Taiwan. Because we had quite a number of contacts with Asian visitors, mainly from China and Taiwan. This is more than we expected.”

Dr. Thomas Kessler, president, Edmund Optics: “VISION started off slow for us, but grew constantly. The second day was an extremely busy day. The stand was full, we were dashing from one meeting to another, and had very effective and interesting contacts, of whom many were new. Never before had we experienced such a day at VISION. It is difficult to judge at the moment how the two-year cycle has impacted VISION. I believe it is beneficial. At any rate, everyone is back again plus some newcomers. In this respect, he mentioned that the trade fair experienced an upturn.”

Hansjörg Hutt, sales specialist for Machine Vision, Festo: “The VISION trade fair went extremely well for us, and we think that is due to the fact that Festo not only presents camera technology, but showcases comprehensive solutions, with camera systems as an integral element of handling systems. We are fully satisfied with the number of visitors. There are many concrete projects among the requests received, so we can say it was a successful trade fair.”

Dr. Simon Che’Rose, head of department of Engineering & Solution, Framos: “VISION was a great success for us. Although, I have a feeling that overall it was slightly quieter than in previous years; however, the number of customers at our stand exceeded the figure of previous years. We use VISION as a platform to meet our regular customers and to synchronise with them, i.e. exchange information. VISION is exceptional for this. In addition, all important trends can be found at the one spot.”

Torsten Wiesinger, president of IDS, Imaging Development Systems: “Following a break of two years, we were full of anticipation for the trade fair, the expectations with regard to the number of contacts was correspondingly high. On the whole, these expectations were even exceeded – also in terms of the quality of the contacts. Our trade fair stand was highly frequented on all three trade fair days. Despite a significant increase in the number of our stand personnel, we sometimes reached our capacity limits. VISION was also able to register an increase with regard to the origin of the trade fair visitors: significantly more guests than in 2012, including visitors from Asia, the USA, as well as the UK and France, made their way to our stand. The two-year cycle helps us present fully developed products, which can also be supplied. This also definitely represents added value for the trade fair visitors.”

Christophe Blanc, CEO, Phlox, and Meinrad Simnacher, sales manager for Germany, Austria and Switzerland (DACH region) of Phlox, France: “We are very satisfied with the trade fair. The high number of professional visitors and the project requests, in particular, are a special feature of VISION, and we greatly appreciate being here. There was an unexpectedly high number of visitors and I think that can be partly attributed to the new two-year cycle. For us, already after the first day the number of visitors was much higher than in previous years, meaning we had significantly more contacts and we had to deliver our brochures after the trade fair. It was worthwhile for us to be here at the joint stand of Pole Optitec. The embedding effect facilitates cooperation with other high-tech companies from our region and our customers can be better served thanks to the synergy effects.”

Gregor Federau, president, Schäfter+Kirchhoff: “We are extremely satisfied. The first two days exceeded our expectations, and the result from the third day is also really good. The many interested trade fair visitors, very often with specific ideas on what should be measured and with respect to the quality of the products which they want to purchase, is encouraging – overall, very highly qualified visitors. Many well-known faces and regular customers stopped by, but we were also able to establish many new contacts with visitors from Europe.”

Berndt Zingrebe, managing partner: “We are extremely happy with the trade fair and achieved excellent results. We generated approximately 20 percent more leads than two years ago. Some of these leads will result in very interesting projects. The international character was also excellent and the quality of the visitors was superb. I think the success of VISION is more to do with the economy than the two-year cycle. As a manufacturer of lenses, we would prefer the one-year cycle as we do not manufacture an end product. The feedback from the camera customers thus comes two years later, rather than one year.”

Peter Keppler, director of sales, Stemmer Imaging: “We had many, very interesting visitors and identified a high satisfaction rate among the visitors. We received excellent feedback on the open appearance of the trade fair and the new two-year cycle. Numerous visitors confirmed that there was huge enthusiasm among the exhibitors and a great deal of commitment. We welcomed a good mix of national and international visitors from a wide range of industries, which showed that the customers of our international subsidiaries are now using the trade fair much more than in the previous years for discussions with our local employees. The international character of VISION as a leading trade fair for machine vision is definitely present. From our point of view, machine vision is very well represented as a cross-sectional technology at VISION.”

Jan-Eric Schmitt, vice president of sales Vision Components: “VISION was a huge success for us. As is the case each year, we come with many employees, and we were constantly engaged in conversations. We are very satisfied – not only with the quantity, but also the quality of the contacts. Many of our existing customers used VISION to meet us, but there were also many new visitors too.  The ‘Traffic’ focal point matched our concept very well, because at the start of the year we launched an ITS (Intelligent Traffic System) software engine on the market.”

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