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In 2002, robot investment in the United Kingdom plummeted by 61 per cent
In 2002, robot investment in the United Kingdom plummeted by 61 per cent. Robot use in the United Kingdom lagging far behind the rest of Europe
Keywords: Robots, Statistics, UK, Europe
After years of steady increase in robot investment, it fell like a stone in 2002 ...
Between 1998 and 2001, investment in industrial robots steadily increased, reaching 1,941 units, 26 per cent over 2000 (Figure 1). In 2002, however, investment dropped by as much as 61 per cent compared with 2001.
Figure 1 Estimated operational stock of robots at year-end and shipments during the year
At the end of 2002, the estimated stock of robots in use in the United Kjngdom amounted to 13,650 units, an increase of 2 per cent over 2001. By the end of 2006, the stock is projected to grow to just below 14,400 units, which is hardly an impressive increase.
United Kingdom lagging behind...
For every 10,000 persons employed in the United Kingdom manufactunng industry at the end of 2002, there were 36 industnal robots, compared with 135 in Germany, 109 in Italy, 67 in France, and 66 in Spain (Figure 2). In the United Kingdom motor vehicle industry there are some 550 robots per 10,000 production workers, which is also far behind the densities in the above-mentioned countries.
Robot prices are down, labour costs are up...
Between 1990 and 2002 prices of industrial robots fell from index 100 to 44, without taking into account that robots installed in 2002 had a much higher performance than those installed in 1990. If quality changes had been taken into account, it was estimated that the index would have fallen to 23. In other words, an average robot sold in 2002 would have cost only about a fourth of what a robot with the same performance would have cost in 1990 if it had been possible to produce such a robot in that year. In the last few years, however, the price decline has levelled out.
At the same time, the index of labour compensation in the United Kingdom business sector increased from 100 to 169. This implies that the relative prices of robots have fallen from 100 in 1990 to 26 in 2002 without quality adjustment, and to 14 when taking quality improvements into account.
Welding and plastic moulding are the dominant application areas
Of the total 2002 stock of operational robots, welding accounted for 49 per cent. With 14 per cent, plastic moulding was the second largest application area, followed by material handling with 8 per cent.
The motor vehicle industry dominates...
The motor vehicle industry was by far the largest user of industrial robots in the United Kingdom. At the end of 2002, this industry accounted for 60 per cent of the total stock of operational robots. With 16 per cent of the operational stock, the chemical industry was the second largest user. The food industry, fabricated metal products, machinery and electrical machinery industries each accounted for only between 2 and 4 per cent of the total stock.
For more information please contact: International Federation of Robotics (IFR), Statistics Department, c/o VDMA Robotics + Automation, Lyoner Str, Frankfurt am Main Germany. Tel: +49 (69) 6603 1502; Fax: +49 (69) 6603 2502; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org