Happy New Year to all!

I hope all of you enjoyed your Holiday season and year-end celebrations. And I hope those celebrations come with a pretty strong balance sheet because that's what we're hearing from our customers and friends in the manufacturing sector in both the U.S. and Europe.

As usual, I recently completed my forecast story for the Automated Imaging Association. One of the great things about my job is that I get to learn (for free) from really smart people. My findings from this article were pretty surprising.

First, a note about AIA: they're the North American machine vision trade association. Machine vision "in its simplest form" refers to an automated quality inspection or assembly system that uses a camera connected to a computer to automatically make measurements, guide robots, etc., at speeds and accuracies far beyond what humans can do.

The surprise was, at least to this conservative economic market watcher, that business is booming. We all expected industrial support companies to see a boost at the end of last year as customers replaced maintenance inventories and restocked parts and products, but the trend seems to be continuing and accelerating.

As one CEO told me, "We're seeing new systems too, and that's what's going to carry us through."

Click here to read more of "Machine Vision Market Speeds Ahead of Overall Economy."