New figures for robot sales to industry, released today (Thursday 17th May) by the British Automation and Robot Association based at the University of Warwick, show that the year 2000 saw the second highest number ever (1538) of robots sold to UK companies.
Dr Ken Young, chairman of the British Automation and Robot Association BARA and head of automation research at the University of Warwick's Manufacturing Group, said:
"This shows a steady upward trend in the take up of industrial robots. Other good news for the industry is the diversification in the applications robots are being put to. The automotive industry has always been a large user of robots but now many other industries are showing growth including the food industry and electronics."
"One of the drivers for this increase in robot sales is undoubtedly the drop in price of robots. The majority of robots sold now carry a price tag of less than ?50k with an increasing number in the ?10k-?30k region. This makes robots attractive to a much larger range of companies and allows payback times of less than two years to be achievable in many instances."
Dr Young also states that developments in controller technology which make the use of industrial robots much simpler has also helped. He says that "Many of these machines are now as easy to program as a video recorder".
However other trends within the market show a decrease in the number of robots actually produced in the UK and an increase in the number imported from Japan.
Other developments in the robotics world show a large increase of interest in service robots. including entertainment robots, lawnmowers and vacuum cleaners. During 2001 a number of new products are due to be launched in this area and sales of them are likely to grow rapidly.
Sales of industrial robots are also likely to rise this year. Figures for the first quarter of 2001 already show record sales.
Note for editors: Graphs showing the full sales breakdown for 2000 can be downloaded from www.bara.org/uk/news.htm
For further details please contact:
Dr Ken Young, BARA c/o University of Warwick
Tel 024 7657 3742 Mobile: 0777 5534345
Tel: 024 76 523716