German Robotics and Automation Expects All-Time High

Munich, Germany, – The German robotics and automation sector is on track for another record year: the industry is forecasting a 13 percent increase in sales to 16.2 billion euros in 2023. In 2022, companies already recorded a 5 percent sales increase to 14.3 billion euros.

“The robotics and automation industry is on course for growth,” says Frank Konrad, Chairman of VDMA Robotics + Automation. “The previous turnover record of 15.1 billion euros from 2018 is likely to be significantly exceeded in 2023 with expected sales of 16.2 billion euros. Currently, the market situation is characterized by full order books. During the pandemic, suppliers built up large order backlogs, which are now being gradually worked off as bottlenecks in the supply chains ease. This means our industry is finally leaving the pandemic behind.” 

The subsectors of robotics and automation developed positively in 2022: 

  • Machine Vision grew by 11 percent, with industry sales reaching 3.4 billion euros.
  • Integrated Assembly Solutions recorded a 5 percent increase in sales to €7.4 billion.
  • Robotics sales rose by 1 percent to 3.5 billion euros.

2023 forecast for the three subsectors:

  • Machine Vision forecasts an increase of 7 percent in 2023, corresponding to sales of 3.6 billion euros.
  • In Integrated Assembly Solutions, the industry expects sales to increase by 17 percent to 8.7 billion euros.
  • In Robotics, growth of 12 percent to 3.9 billion euros is expected.

China in the fast lane – robotics and automation on the rise worldwide According to the International Federation of Robotics (IFR), around half a million industrial robots were installed worldwide in 2022 – about twice as many as seven years earlier. The international automation race is reflected in the robot density of national economies: with 322 units per 10,000 employees in the manufacturing industry, China already overtook the United States (274 units) in 2021. According to a current forecast by VDMA Robotics + Automation, China will surpass Germany in terms of robot density as early as 2023 and thus achieve a higher level of automation. “With regard to the fierce global competition, there is no time to be complacent. We therefore welcome the initiative of Chancellor Olaf Scholz to strengthen robotics and automation in Germany,” says Frank Konrad.

Transformation drives demand

In the future, automation will play a key role in both the manufacturing and service sector in Germany. Today, the service sector generates close to 70 percent of GDP. Service robotics is urgently needed here to remain productive despite staff shortages. Lab automation provides a good example for the potential of robot application.

The demand for robotics and automation in manufacturing is also driven by strong transformation trends: For example, the automotive industry is currently developing new manufacturing technologies for electric cars.

The expansion of renewable energies for climate protection requires the cost-effective and highly automated mass production of green tech products such as fuel cells. Across all industries, the aim is to operate more sustainably, produce competitively in Europe and compensate for the shortage of skilled workers.

automatica 2023, June 27-30, 2023, Munich, Germany

“We expect an additional boost for our industry from automatica 2023,” says Frank Konrad, Chairman of VDMA Robotics + Automation. The leading international trade fair for intelligent automation and robotics covers the entire value chain: from components to systems; from services to applications – for all manufacturing industries.

The VDMA represents more than 3,500 German and European mechanical and plant engineering companies. The industry stands for innovation, export orientation and SMEs. The companies employ around 3 million people in the EU-27, more than 1.2 million of them in Germany alone. This makes mechanical and plant engineering the largest employer among the capital goods industries, both in the EU-27 and in Germany. In the European Union, it represents a turnover volume of an estimated 770 billion euros. Around 80 percent of the machinery sold in the EU comes from a manufacturing plant in the domestic market.

The VDMA Robotics + Automation Association (VDMA R+A) is a trade association within the umbrella of the VDMA with more than 370 member companies: Suppliers of components and systems from the fields of robotics, integrated assembly solutions and machine vision. The aim of this industry-driven platform is to support robotics and automation through a wide range of activities and services. Key activities include statistical analysis and market surveys, marketing activities, standards development, public relations, trend studies, trade fair policy as well as networking events and conferences. For further information, please visit: https://www.vdma.org/robotics-automation

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