If it wasn’t impressive enough with sales of robots from January to March 2012 outstripping sales in any other quarter to date, then sales for the first two quarters have now exceeded all previous full year sales on record!
In the first quarter robot sales of 923 units were recorded which is larger than the annual total for many of the previous years. The second quarter brought this figure to 2000 for the half year end. However, automotive and automotive component orders contributed 85% of this figure in the first quarter and 89% of the sales in the second. This trend appears to be continuing, at least in the short term. Whilst in most other sectors robot sales are increasing, the growth still remains sluggish and in some sectors in sporadic decline.
Mike Wilson, British Automation and Robot Association Chairman said “whilst we welcome the level of robot orders from the automotive sector largely driven by product demand in global emerging markets, it is a real concern that other sectors are still not understanding the potential implications of not automating. Other countries such as China, Germany and most of the major European manufacturing nations are investing heavily in automation to sustain competitive advantage. Part of the problem in the UK is a short term approach and the perception that the pay back period is longer than it often is”.
Allen Green Managing Director of A K Industries who recently completed the free government automating manufacturing review, available to all British manufacturers said “we have recently had our automation review carried out on site and we have found this very useful. The automation expert has highlighted several areas that we could cost effectively automate and the pay back period is a lot shorter than we had thought. We are pleased that the government is prepared to help UK manufacturing take the next steps in remaining competitive in an ever increasingly global market place. We have just completed our first 6-axis robotic cell”.
The British government’s drive to automate manufacturing is going extremely well according to Grant Collier, Head of Marketing for the PPMA Group of Associations managing the programme “over 220 manufacturers around the UK have taken up the Government funded Automating Manufacturing Programme which shows manufacturers how they can benefit from automation.” Applications to date have come from a wide range of industries, including over one third from the food sector which is surprising since this has traditionally been an area very slow to adopt automation. He added, “the initial review is fully funded by the UK government with no obligation to take it further, the application process is simple, all companies should be looking at this as a route to improve their manufacturing operations”.