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谁动了机器视觉的市场?

(2007-10-31 09:53:57)

谁动了机器视觉的市场?

 

路艳艳

    虽然市场已经提前显现出繁荣的美景,但国内机器视觉市场还处于起步阶段几乎是没有人可以否认的现实。起步阶段的标志就是竞争无序、产业链脆弱、用户的需求没有被完全挖掘以及用户对于技术概念的理解模糊。而这些,在机器视觉领域都有体现。
    “许多客户对机器视觉产品表现出很大的兴趣,但最终却很少有人能承担其费用。”西安机器视觉研究发展中心主任雷文华说。
    这是一个无法忽略的事实。原因恐怕来自两个方面,一是机器视觉产品价格的昂贵,让一些制造企业可望而不可及;另一方面,则是还有相当一部分制造企业认为单纯为提高产品质量而增加投入并不是一件值得的事情。
    机器视觉产品的价格一直是阻碍其发展的一个主要因素。江苏维世迅机器视觉技术有限公司市场部的李海蓉告诉记者,目前国内应用的机器视觉产品多数为国外进口,价格门槛高,虽然市场上也存在国产品牌但选择度较少。这就导致了机器视觉设备成本高,由此严重制约了视觉系统的应用推广。
    “虽然他们更应该从提高产品质量和节约人工方面综合评价投入与产出比,但高昂的价格仍使很多客户感到难以承受。”雷文华认为,价格因素在一定程度上将用户使用机器视觉产品的积极性吓退了。
    深圳视觉龙视觉技术有限公司的丁少华博士则认为,之所以花费高,其中一部分原因是由于用户对机器视觉产品的不了解造成的。“明明可以用低端的产品,用户却花了很多钱去购买高端的产品,无谓地增加了成本。”
    国内用户对于机器视觉的认识还停留在比较初级的阶段,这是所有被访者对国内用户对机器视觉认知度的共识。他们认为,国内的制造企业基本不具备选择适合自己的机器视觉产品的能力,他们要依赖于系统集成商或设备供应商的指导。而有些企业为了谋求更高利润,有时并不能为客户提供准确的方案。而国内制造企业对于机器视觉产品和企业品牌的认识,更是少之又少。
    对于机器视觉企业来说,对机器视觉认知度比较高的,还是一些外资或台资企业。“这些企业了解机器视觉,且有能力采购机器视觉检测设备,但这些企业使用的却大多是进口设备,设备采购时多数都自带机器视觉检测系统,所以导致了大部分对视觉有认知、同时又具备购买能力的客户群流失。”江苏维世迅的李海蓉告诉记者,这一部分客户通常被机器视觉企业称为“流失的市场”。
    潜在客户不了解机器视觉,而优质客户又不需要在国内采购机器视觉产品或系统,导致这一领域的很大一部分市场还处于待开发的状态。“所以我感觉我的工作就像是在‘布道’,让我的客户了解什么是机器视觉,为什么要用它,并且为他们做一些比较基础的培训。而现在许多机器视觉厂商都在做这样的事情。”凌华科技的丁辰龙对记者说。
    而有些企业,则抓住了一些初级阶段的市场机会。NI公司的技术市场工程师俞涛说:“在这个时期,NI为众多起步阶段的用户或非专业的机器视觉开发者提供了很好的工具,通过软硬件的紧密集成以及强大的开发环境和丰富的算法支持,帮助用户能够比较快速地学习和实现各种应用。NI还在网页上提供了关于机器视觉产品的选择指南和详尽的技术文档,例如《选择视觉软件需要考虑的10个方面》,来帮助用户从其应用角度出发,完成从光源一直到后期的处理软件的选择工作。用户也在这个选择和学习的过程中积累了机器视觉产品相关的经验。”
    用户会不会选择是个问题,而认为使用机器视觉产品“值不值得”又是个问题。
    美国邦纳的李根良对记者说,有些制造企业对于质量的重要性的认识并不十分全面,觉得“标签贴得歪一点没关系,瓶子上有些瑕疵也没有关系”,所以认为没必要使用机器视觉产品,“其实这些都是关系到企业品牌形象的问题。”
    而此外,中国制造业的人工成本低也成为阻碍机器视觉推广应用的一个主要因素。“有的企业觉得安装一套机器视觉系统还不如多雇几个工人。”李根良说。但他觉得,现在人工成本越来越高,而且某些产品的质量缺陷,光靠人眼是察觉不出来的,所以,随着机器视觉产品成本的不断降低,今后机器视觉肯定能成为质量监控的重要手段。
    机器视觉的成本降低依赖于本土机器视觉产业的发展,这一方面基于机器视觉企业自身技术的提升,而另一方面,政府的推动力也必不可少。邦纳公司的李根良介绍说,机器视觉在制药机械行业的推广就得益于国家的强制性政策。“之前制药机械行业很少使用机器视觉,而后来国家推行了GMP强制认证,要求在药品包装过程中要尽量减少人对药品包装的接触,这就使得制药机械行业必须采用机器视觉代替人工检测。”因此,他希望国家能多出台一些相关政策,帮助整个中国制造业提高质量意识,最后也推动机器视觉产业向前发展。

 

Who Moved the Machine Vision Market?
    Although the market is already prosperity ahead of time, the domestic machine vision market is still at the initial stage. The signs of initial stage are disorderly competition, weak industry chain, incompletely excavated user's needs, and user's fuzzy understanding about technical concept. They all embodied in the field of machine vision.
    "Many customers have a big interest in the visual product, but actually very few people can bear it." Lei Wenhua the director of Xi'an Machine Vision Research and Development Center said.
    This is a fact that can not be neglected. Perhaps there are two reasons. First, the price of machine vision product is too expensive to bear for many manufacturers. Second, a lot of manufactures do not believe that it's a worthwhile thing to increase investment for simply enhancing the product quality.
    The price of machine vision product is a main factor, which always hinders its development. Li Hairong who works at the market department of Jiangsu Wei Shixun Machine Vision Technology Ltd. told reporters. Most current domestic machine vision products are foreign imports and the prices are too high. There are some domestic brands in the market, but less to choose. As a result, the costs of machine vision equipment are too high to promote.
    "They should compare the investment with output comprehensively. Both enhancing product quality and saving human resource should be considered. But the price is still too high to bear for many clients." Lei Wenhua thought. Because of the high price, users of machine vision products give up their enthusiasms in a certain extent.
    Why the cost is so high? Dr.Ding shaohua thought it was due to the user's ignorance about machine vision products. "They can use low-end products in some condition, but actually they spend much money to purchase high-end ones. Thus, it is meaningless to increase the cost."
The awareness of domestic users about machine vision still remains in initial stage. It's the interviewees' recognition. They believe that the domestic manufacturers do not have the suitable choice of machine vision products, and they have to rely on the guidance from system integrators or equipment suppliers. To seek higher profits, some enterprises can't provide accurate solutions for clients. While the awareness of domestic manufacturers about machine vision products and enterprise brands is just a few.
    Some foreign or Taiwan-funded enterprises have the right awareness aboutmachine vision. "These enterprises understand the machine vision, and they have abilities to purchase testing equipment of machine vision. But most of the products are imported equipments with their own testing systems. Thus, it leads to the loss of clients who have the right awareness and purchasing power." Li Hairong told reporter, these clients were called "loss of the market" by machine vision enterprises.
    The potential clients don't understand machine vision, while the quality clients needn't purchase machine vision products or systems at home. So the large part of the market is still in the undeveloped state. "I feel that my job is the 'sermons'. I make my clients know what the machine vision is and why we use it. Meanwhile, we do some basic trainings for clients. Many machine vision vendors all do such things." Ding Chenlong of Ling Hua Technology said to reporter.
    Some enterprises hold the market opportunities in the initial stage. Yu Tao of NI said, "During this period, NI provides good tools for many new clients or non-professional developer of machine vision. They help users more quickly to study and realize each kind of applications through close integration of software and hardware, powerful development environment and abundant algorithms. NI also provides guidance of machine vision and detailed technical documentation on the website, such as "10 aspects should be considered about choice of visual software". From the application point of view, it helps the users to choose from the light source to the software process. The users also accumulate interrelated experiences of machine vision product in the choosing and learning process."
    Whether the users can choose is a problem, and whether the machine vision products are worth to choose is another problem.
    Li Genliang of BANNER said to reporter, some manufacturers didn't pay attention to the quality in the round. They think inclined labels and some flaws in bottles are not matters. Thus, they think it's not necessary to use machine vision products. "In fact, these are all related to the corporate brand image."
    Moreover, the low cost of Chinese manufacturing labor is a major factor, which hinders the promotion of machine vision application. "Some enterprises think it's better employing more workers than installing a machine vision system." Li Genliang said. But he thinks the labor costs are higher, and some quality defects can't be monitored by people. As the costs unceasingly reduce, machine vision would certainly be the only choice of quality monitor.
    The reduction of machine vision cost relies on the development of local machine vision industry. One hand, machine vision enterprises should upgrade their technology. And the other hand, the driving force of government is also essential. Li Genliang of BANNER said, the promotion of machine vision in the pharmaceutical industry was beneficial to the country's mandatory policy. "Few pharmaceutical industries used machine vision before. GMP demanded people should minimize the contacts with packaging of the drug in the pharmaceutical packaging process. It made the pharmaceutical industry use machine vision instead of artificial detection." Therefore, he hopes the country can introduce more policies to help the Chinese manufacturers to increase quality consciousness. Finally it also impels the machine vision industry to move forward.

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