UK news: May 2012
UK robot sales hit a record – almost all for automotive uses
Sales of industrial robots in the UK during the first quarter of 2012 were higher than those in any previous quarter, and bigger than the annual total for some previous years. The vast majority (85%) of the 923 robots sold were for automotive applications.
“These large investments show the commitment of the automotive companies to their UK manufacturing facilities,” comments Mike Wilson, chairman of the British Automation and Robot Association (Bara). “However, robot sales in some other sectors, such as food and drink, are not keeping up with the increasing use of robots worldwide.
Wilson adds that the level of automotive sales “is not a particular surprise – they recognise the benefits to their manufacturing. Our concern is the broader picture and the risk to competitiveness that will result from lack of investment in automation technologies.”
According to Grant Collier, head of marketing for the PPMA Group of trade associations (which includes Bara), the free, Government-backed Automating Manufacturing Programme “is starting to address these issues, showing manufacturers how they can benefit from automation and providing assistance on the first steps towards implementing automation.”
Applications for the programme have come from a variety of industries, including a significant number from the food sector.