According to recent data published by the Association for Advancing Automation (A3) and ITR Economics in their Global Economic and Automation Outlook report, the robotics, machine vision, and motion control markets shrank year-to-date compared to the same period in 2019.
The North American robotics market decreased 18% and order revenue, totaling $716 million, was also down 18% compared to the first half of 2019. The life sciences and plastics and rubber industries, however, increased between January 2020 and June 2020 by 97% and 49% respectively.
Surveyed robotics industry members were fairly optimistic about sales prospects for the next six months, with 22% believing that sales will increase significantly and 36% believing that sales will increase moderately, while 23% believe sales will remain flat and 19% believe there will be further decreases.
The North American machine vision market is also down, with a decrease of 8% from the same period last year, for a sales total of $1.3 billion. Machine vision components, including cameras, lighting, optics, imaging boards, and software, fell 9% to $174 million. Machine vision systems, a category that includes application specific machine vision and smart cameras, fell 8% to $1.1 billion.
Vision and imaging A3 members were also fairly optimistic about sales over the next six months, with 17% believing sales will increase significantly and 42% believing that sales will increase moderately, while 15% expect sales to remain flat and 27% believe there will be further decreases.
Finally, motion control and motor markets fell 6% compared to the first half of 2019, for a total of $1.669 billion in sales. All product categories, with a single exception, experienced a decrease in revenue. The electronic drives category increased 1%, for a total of $251 million in sales.
Surveyed motion control and motor industry members were cautiously optimistic regarding sales for the remainder of 2020, with 6% expecting significant growth and 49% expecting moderate increases, while 13% believed the market will remain flat and 32% expected further declines.
“It’s clear that our industry is feeling the effects of COVID-19, its strain on supply chains, and the overall economic uncertainty due to our current circumstances,” said Alex Shikany, A3 Vice President, Membership & Business Intelligence. “Despite the numbers reflecting these recent challenges, our latest market surveys tell us that there is optimism for what the next six months will bring.”
Alan Beaulieu, President of ITR Economics and its leading economic forecaster, believes there will be increased foreign demand in 2021 for robotics exports from the United States, lending a hopeful outlook for future sales numbers.
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