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UK Manufacturing Sees Highest Ever Robot Sales

Today, Monday 18th October, the British Automation and Robot Association (BARA) based at the University of Warwick announced record sales of robots within the UK for the third quarter of 2004. With 507 robots sold this is the highest number on record and shows that significant investment in manufacturing in the UK is still taking place.

This high number particularly reflects two major investment projects in the automotive sector accounting for 400 of the total. The car companies involved in these projects are Toyota near Derby and BMW at Oxford. These companies have demonstrated that with the correct product range and appropriate use of automation technology, manufacturing in the UK can remain profitable.

Other industries that are starting to realise the benefits of flexible automation include pharmaceuticals, food and drink and construction materials. These are all industries facing a lack of labour availability and where relocation to low labour cost countries is not an option for one reason or another.

Another key driver in the increasing use of robots in industry is the recent advent of low cost vision systems for many robot applications. Dr Ken Young a researcher at the University of Warwick?s Warwick Manufacturing Group and chairman of BARA) predicts that the use of these vision systems on robots will change the way we work over the next ten years as much as the PC has over the last ten as they make robots far more flexible and capable of working in uncontrolled environments.

Dr Young also warns that while investments of this nature in the UK are tremendous news the fact that they are being done by foreign owned companies should send a warning out to both UK owned companies and the government.

For further information contact:

Dr Ken Young, BARA, & University of Warwick
Tel: 0777 5534345

Peter Dunn,
Press and Media Relations Manager
University of Warwick Tel: 024 76 523708