VDMA: Economic downturn affects robotics and automation
The German robotics and automation sector cannot escape the economic slowdown in the mechanical engineering industry: For 2019, the industry expects sales to fall by 5 percent to 14.3 billion euros. « An initially high order backlog was largely reduced in the course of the year, and the autumn upturn familiar from previous years failed to materialize. After a decade of sales records, our innovation and growth sector is now also facing a significant damper due to the difficult global economic situation, » says Wilfried Eberhardt, Chairman of VDMA Robotics + Automation and Chief Marketing Officer of KUKA AG.
In 2019, this development will affect all sub-sectors of robotics and automation. For machine vision, a 7 percent decline in industry sales is expected. The largest sub-sector, Integrated Assembly Solutions, is expecting a decline of 5 percent. Robotics is currently forecasting a minus of 3 percent.
The reasons for this downturn are a global economy that is losing momentum and saturation effects in important markets. For example, worldwide sales of smartphones are stagnating, which is also having an impact on investment in machinery. In addition, the current uncertainty in many customer industries is causing a reluctance to invest. The uncertainties resulting from the transformation of the automotive industry and the increasing number of trade disputes are having a particularly strong impact here. As a turnaround is not yet in sight, VDMA Robotics + Automation is forecasting a further decline in its sector turnover of 10 percent for 2020.
« As a key technology for optimizing production and guaranteeing high quality and sustainability standards, robotics and automation will continue to play a central role in the future and return to its growth course in the medium term, » emphasizes Patrick Schwarzkopf, Managing Director of the VDMA Robotics + Automation Association.
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