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Dismay at Collapse In UK Manufacturers Investment In Automation

Originally Published 22 October 2003
Dr Ken Young with Robots
Dr Ken Young with Robots

The British Automation and Robot Association (BARA) based at the University of Warwick is greatly concerned with UN figures just published that show In 2002, robot investment in the United Kingdom plummeted by 61%. Across the world as a whole robot orders in first half of 2003 were up by 26% - The UK however lags behind with proportionally less robots engaged in the UK manufacturing industry than the US, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, or even Austria.

Dr Ken Young Director of the British Automation and Robot Association (BARA) based at the University of Warwick says:

“I am utterly dismayed at these figures which starkly depict the short sightedness of UK manufacturing companies who are being out stripped by their rivals in the rest of Europe who see the clear advantages in investment in automation. However I would also plead with the UK Government to look at the higher levels of financial support that other European countries give to manufacturers seeking to invest in automation and robots, and I would ask Government move to close that gap.”

The UN report shows that for every 10,000 persons employed in the United Kingdom manufacturing industry at the end of 2002, there were 36 industrial robots, compared with 135 in Germany, 109 in Italy, 67 in France, and 66 in Spain . In the United Kingdom motor vehicle industry there are some 550 robots per 10,000 production workers but this is also far behind the above densities in the above-mentioned countries

Number of robots per 10,000 persons
employed in the manufacturing industry in 2002

United States 58
European Union 86
Germany 135
Italy 109
Sweden 91
Finland 68
France 67
Spain 66
Austria 54
Benelux 51
Denmark 43
United Kingdom 36

The full UN press release on the robot figures is at

For further details please contact:

Dr Ken Young, BARA, University of Warwick
024 76 522764 mobile 0777 5534345