[Alex] I’m delighted this morning to be joined by Mark Williamson, head of the VDMA Machine Vision. Mark, do you want to just tell us a little bit about the VDMA Machine Vision and your role?
[Mark] Yes, so the VDMA Machine Vision is a European trade association under the VDMA brand, which is all mechanical engineering in Germany. We represent not only German machine vision manufacturers but also the industry as a whole in Europe. We’re very much involved in standardisation. We have some of our standards, we work with the G3 Standards Group, which brings together the trade associations of Europe, Japan, other Asian countries and the US.
And we do a lot of work with statistics, with our members providing feedback with data so we can give the industry good guidance of what we’re doing. I’ve just been voted on as Chairman for the group. I’ve been involved in the VDMA for the previous six years. So in my next three years as Chairman; my goal is to develop further what we’re doing with standardisation and create more synergies with other trade associations around the world to improve the market opportunities for all the members.
[Alex] Tell us a little bit about what it’s like to be back at a tradeshow after the last 18 months.
[Mark] Well, it’s been a rush. So I was at a trade show in the UK last week, back to vision this year. So yes, it’s a little bit smaller. I’m pleasantly surprised by the number of visitors talking with our members on the various stands there [and] that they’re pleased they’re getting some good quality leads. Not so internationals as before. I think it’s more regional, but it’s good to get started and everyone’s so enthusiastic to be back out talking to people, even though we have to wear these horrible things [facemasks].
[Alex] Mark, tell me, what do you think of the challenges and also the opportunities as we come out of the pandemic for your members?
[Mark] Well, we run two surveys. We do an annual survey and also a monthly snap survey of how the market’s doing. We believe that we will achieve about seven per cent growth this year and that’s after a four per cent reduction in the COVID year last year. We’re predicting that to continue into 2022.
I think the actual market opportunity is a lot bigger than that but with the shortage of components, electronic components and other materials, that’s hampering. So it’s not doom and gloom that we’re going to crash and burn, but certainly, it’s dampening the growth rate that we’re seeing. But everyone’s very positive. There’s been a lot of innovation in the last 24 months, through lockdown people have been homeworking, coming out with new stuff. So I think it’s exciting. It really is exciting. We are far less affected than other sectors within the VDMA and in the industry as a whole.
[Alex] If there was one parting message you’d like to pass on to the machine vision and automation community about the VDMA, what would that be?
[Mark] If you want to even just participate in our surveys and to get market data, you can register to submit your information. It’s all confidential and in return, you get this flash data on a regular basis. Very useful for your planning and also become a member because there’s a lot of material, a lot of information, a lot of events and networking to really get involved and feel how the market is developing. And that’s the value you need to have your finger on the pulse and the VDMA allows that to happen.
[Alex] That’s crucial. Thank you ever so much, Mark Williamson.
[Mark] Thank you.
You can find more information about the VDMA on its website.
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