19 February 2014
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Robot sales in 2013 remained strong

The annual sales of industrial robots for 2013 in the UK are almost as strong as the record year in 2012 according to the latest figures from the British Automation and Robot Association (Bara). Once again the automotive and automotive components sectors have been the main source.

2012 was a record year for Robot sales with 2,476 industrial robots being sold from the major suppliers, but 2013 has almost matched this figure at 95% of last year's sales with 2,305 units being sold.

Mike Wilson Chairman of Bara commented: "Whilst this is good news and the automotive sector has unsurprisingly generated most of these sales, we are witnessing only a modest upward trend over the last few years in the uptake of automation and robotics across other sectors. The Pharmaceutical industry being the strongest with growth of 116% over last year's result and food and drink rising by 28%."

Grant Collier head of marketing for Bara, and responsible for the automating manufacturing programme said: "We have seen a tremendous level of interest from all sectors for the use of automation but in particular 37% of the total 367 applications received came from the food sector. However, when surveyed there is a great deal of reticence to automate the food sector due to the pressure that the major supermarkets apply to supplier margins."

A Groceries Code Adjudicator has been appointed to try to sort these issues out which in turn should help when it comes to investment in robotics and automation equipment. The Adjudicator will explain at the PPMA show at the NEC in September just how she is tackling this supply chain blockage. Other sector variances include the plastics sector with robot sales up by 58% but Aerospace where sales are down by 46%.

The automating manufacturing programme is a government initiative to persuade UK companies to automate and remain competitive.

Paul Gay

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British Automation and Robot Association

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