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"Some countries have always been more pro-automation than others and the strongest markets for automated handling systems have traditionally been those territories with a powerful manufacturing base - such as Germany, Switzerland and Italy," he said.
"Manufacturing companies tend to have a much higher acceptance of automation. Because so many manufacturing processes are highly automated the companies feel more comfortable with the technology and see automated storage and handling as a natural progression within their business. They want to automate from the production line to the loading bay."
According to Richmond, the UK's automotive and pharmaceutical products manufacturers are becoming particularly enthusiastic about the operational benefits offered by automation.
"But," he said, "regardless of the sectors in which they operate, all companies want the same from their handling system - improved productivity and efficiency, reduced costs and greater picking accuracy and enhanced customer service levels."
The trend, Richmond believes, is towards mid-level projects which can demonstrate a rapid return on investment.
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