My favorite economist, Alan Beaulieu, spoke at the Automated Imaging Association's Business Conference this week and had good news for the advanced automation industry: 2012 will be a good sales year.

But another recession should be around the corner starting in 2013.

To me, this is pretty good news. I've been a little concerned about the laundry list of problems facing the developed world and automation markets: Europe and U.S. debt issues. Middle east unrest. Spiking oil. Accelerated depreciation going from 100% in 2011 to 50% in 2012, etc. And, interestingly enough, Alan says the only headwind facing automation is the depreciation issue. Otherwise, he says, automation could expect to beat or exceed 2011 (and many companies will anyway).

Look for more info? Check out HBC's 2012 Machine Vision forecast article to appear in the February 2012 issue of's newsletter.