Substantial robot growth
A recent robot sales comparison report carried out by BARA, the British Automation and Robotics Association, shows that in the first two quarters of 2010 UK robot sales have substantially grown by 55 per cent on 2009 figures.
This 55 per cent robot growth is the first time it has happened since 2006 and figures suggest that it will continue to accelerate throughout 2010.
BARA represents over 40 suppliers in the field of robotics and automation and asks each member to provide a breakdown of their robot sales on a quarterly basis which are then incorporated into a regular comparisons report.
Significantly, the report has shown that there have been some major changes in the sectors buying robots and applications for which they are being used. In 2010, when compared to 2006, sales of robots to automotive component suppliers showed a large fall (66 per cent) which has in turn impacted sales of robots for arc welding applications (down by 82 per cent). Interestingly, the report identifies two large growth areas: food and drink (a 172 per cent growth since 2006); and pharmaceutical, medical and healthcare (a 194 per cent growth since 2006). These are now major sectors for robot applications in the UK and it will be interesting to see if the trend continues throughout the rest of this year.
Although the figures have injected some optimism into the industry, Mike Wilson President of BARA, has one note of caution: “The growth both overall and in the newer sectors is very encouraging, but the UK’s robot sales are still well behind other countries who are also achieving significant growth rates in 2010.”