Sony Industrial CCD Cameras, A Hot Market

11 Jun

I’m stepping a little outside my normal blogging today to comment on Sony Corporation and the market opportunity for industrial vision system products.  Sony has been in this market for decades.  As one of the first innovator, they developed CCD technology for solid state cameras,  and still remains the leading manufacturer for these devices.

Sony XC-ST50 Industrial Camera

They have become a commodity in the hot tech market of robotic vision systems and industrial robot manufacturing, a global market expected to reach $5 billion by 2018.  Low cost solid state cameras have grown alongside computer technology, a pairing made in heaven.  They have enabled the development of smart robot systems to aid in manufacturing and quality control.  Not only has the technology reduced labor costs, it has greatly increased productivity since quality control and inspection can be accomplished at blazing speeds compared to manual inspection.

Ninety percent of the Sony professional or industrial product line can be viewed at Sony’s B2B website

Sony’s sales channel uses an exclusive dealer network.  Having a Sony sales contract is considered gold in the industry and worth millions in annual sales to even the smallest company.  But those contracts are hard to secure and come with some pretty heavy handed restrictions and performance requirements.

There are just a handful of tier 1 Sony dealers in North America, but there are far more tier 2 and 3, i.e. resellers who by through Sony dealers and sell to the end user.  Companies like Industrial Camera Sales and Service can create a very good business of processing customer orders online and drop shipping direct from the Sony dealer, never having to touch inventory.  One of the most popular lines, and best seller, is the Sony XC camera line.  Models such as the Sony XC-ST50 and XC-ST51 are staples in the machine vision industry and are sold as true commodities, i.e. based on price and availability.

As digital imaging products decrease in price and increase in performance, more applications are appearing which previous were cost prohibitive.  For example, rear view cameras for motor vehciles are quickly becoming stand equipment in many mid and high end models.

We can expect to see this trend continue for the foreseeable future.


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