VDMA expects 20% drop in automation sales in 2020

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The robotics and automation arm of the VDMA has predicted a drop in sales of robotics equipment in Germany of at least 20 per cent in 2020.

Turnover in sales of robotics and automation from Germany was €14.7bn in 2019, a slight decline of two per cent compared to the previous year. Machine vision, as a subset of this figure, grew by 1 per cent to €2.8bn.

VDMA Robotics and Automation stated that the 'coronavirus crisis has highlighted how vulnerable industrial production has become in global value chains.'

The organisation added that supply chains are being rethought, with more local production planned rather than manufacturing around the globe. This can only be implemented economically using automation.

VDMA also said that new production technology is needed for attaining higher levels of sustainability, carbon neutrality and alternative powertrains for future mobility. There are also catch-up effects from previously postponed investments.

All of these factors will fuel demand in robotics and automation in the post-coronavirus era, and thus offer the industry excellent prospects for the future, the VDMA stated.

Patrick Schwarzkopf, managing director of VDMA Robotics and Automation, commented: 'Robotics and automation has responded to the corona challenge with great commitment and creativity, and impressively demonstrated how flexibly the technology can be used.'

Flexible manufacturing lines have been set up for mass producing respiratory masks and laboratory products. Vaccine development and mass testing benefit from the advances in laboratory automation, while disinfection robots are used in hospitals. Robots are also bringing virtual family visits to nursing homes where movement of people is restricted.

'Digital services, which were already available before the corona crisis, have suddenly become indispensable and put users and providers on a steep learning curve. This advances the smart factory and provides robotics and automation with an important long-term growth incentive,' added Wilfried Eberhardt, chairman of VDMA Robotics and Automation.

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