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GER - VDMA: The world is automating

Robotics and automation grow like never before

“We are very pleased with the extraordinary financial year 2011 and we are also extremely satisfied with the current order income,” says Dr Michael Wenzel, Managing Director of Reis Group Holding GmbH & Co. KG and Chairman of the Board of VDMA Robotics + Automation, at the press conference held on Tuesday on the occasion of AUTOMATICA in Munich.  The industry expects from its international leading trade fair, which takes place from 22 to 25 May 2012 in Munich, further impetus for growth.“Also in 2012, all key players will be present and we look forward to meeting more than 33,000 international trade visitors who will benefit from the production know-how of the exhibitors and sharpen their

2011 turnover increases by 35%
“The German manufacturers of machine vision and assembly and handling technology as well as robotics recorded a 35% growth in turnover, reaching €10.2 billion, which represents yet another all-time high. This figure means that even the industry turnover generated in 2008 (€9.3 billion) – hitherto the best year prior to the financial and economic crisis – has been exceeded by far. Also for 2012, the manufacturers expect solid growth in the region of 4%. A new turnover record in the amount of €10.6 billion will then be reached, adding the next chapter to the success story of robotics and automation,” Wenzel reports.

New peak values in all three sub-sectors of robotics and automation
The machine vision manufacturers increased their turnover by 20% to €1.5 billion. This industry had already exceeded the pre-crisis levels in 2010, whilst robotics as well as assembly and handling technology only managed to achieve new record sales in 2011.
Robotics, with an unprecedented growth ratio of 43%, reached a turnover volume of €2.8 billion. Also assembly and handling technology generated a plus of hitherto unwitnessed 36% and reached a €5.9 billion record.

For 2012 the manufacturers of robotics and machine vision expect further growth in the region of 5%, and the manufacturers of the assembly and handling technology of 4%.
Global trend for automation
Rationalisation, productivity boosts, shorter lead times, faster cycle times and high demands on product quality are, and will be, decisive factors for using machine vision, assembly and handling technology, and robotics, Wenzel stresses. A high degree of automation was also important to reduce the time to market. “More than most application industries, renewables and electro mobility require massive cost cuts to be able to extend their markets successfully. Electric motors, power batteries, power electronics and photovoltaics will become less expensive when the products are mass-produced with the help of production automation technology”, Wenzel continues.

Germany most important market for robotics manufacturers
Domestic turnover increased by 30% in 2011, so Germany remains the strongest and most important market for German robotics. Their share in the total turnover decreased from 55% to 51% due to the even more dynamic export situation from 2008 to 2011.

In 2011 exports climbed by some 41%. In the past year, China further consolidated its position as strongest target country for exports by manufacturers of machine vision, assembly and handling technology, and robotics, and now reaches 12%. Also the turnover generated in the European countries increased above average in 2011. “Hence, Europe has reinforced its position as a major export region for German manufacturers. Yet their share in turnover is still below the pre-crisis level”, Wenzel says.

“Growth in North America is lagging behind expectations – although especially in the US manufacturing companies are forced to automate and modernise their facilities.  Although these investments had picked up in 2011, they still failed to reach the expected momentum,“ Wenzel says.

Automotive is prime mover
“The automotive industry clearly was the motor behind the solid growth in turnover and will remain so in the current year,” Wenzel explains. “New and improved drive technologies, new materials and new production methods as well as extended capacities in the growth markets have led to ongoing increases in investments for robotics and automation.” In Germany alone, the automotive industry installed some 10,500 new industrial robots, which is 50% more than in 2010. For each 10,000 employees, 1,130 industrial robots were installed in the German automotive sector. This is the third highest robot density in the world.

Sourced from VDMA

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