Small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and consumer markets such as food and beverage and pharmaceuticals, hold huge potential for robotics in materials handling. These traditionally conservative industries anticipate that robots will reduce labour costs and manage product line changes along with fluctuating volumes.
Frost & Sullivan (http://www.industrialautomation.frost.com) finds that European Robotics for Materials Handling Markets earned revenue of US$762.3 million in 2004 and estimates to reach US$1.28 billion in 2012.
The booming packaging industry specifically in respect to the consumer markets offers immense potential for robotics. Changing product types and varying product volumes necessitate flexible automation solutions. Manufacturers in consumer markets are opening up to the idea of investing in robots to reduce costs and maintain quality, thereby boosting sales of robotics in the packaging market.
“However, with the slump in demand from automotive OEMs, increasing number of robotics manufacturers will look to the food and beverage and life sciences sector for growth opportunities, which results in intense competition,” says Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Kashyap Chandrasekar.
Most SMEs cannot afford huge investments in flexible automation, and the need for flexibility is greatest among SMEs that have to constantly cope with changing demands of end users. In the short run, the success of robot manufacturers depends on their efforts to offer reliable and inexpensive robotic solutions to SMEs.
Given the decreasing demand from automotive OEMs in 2003 and 2004 robot manufacturers have to stop depending on this sector for consistent revenues. Niche market participants should take a more generalist approach and look to developing markets for regaining profits.
“The automotive sector has traditionally been the biggest user of flexible automation in manufacturing, and hence most robot manufacturers have a presence in this sector,” says Mr Chandrasekar.” Intense competition and price pressures from OEMs and the slump in demand are making a niche automotive approach highly unfavourable.”
Niche participants have immense technical know-how, successful pricing strategies and experience in competing globally with the generalist participants in the automotive sector. Widening their end-user spectrum will be profitable in the near future and a necessity in the long run. Generalist participants should focus their efforts on taking robotic materials handling solution to the high potential SMEs market.
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European Robotics for Materials Handling Markets
List of key industry participants: ABB Flexible Automation, Accelab research automation,ACMA Germany, ACMA S.p.A, Adept Technology, ADPAK Machinery Systems Limited, Beumer Maschinenfabrik GmbH & Co. KG, Beumer S.a.r.l, Bosch Rexroth, cama , Campatella robotics center srl, Comau, Dalmec Ltd, Demareux S.A, DNC S.A, Egemin NV, Ehcolo A/S, Elexis (Hekuma – part of elexis group), Emmeti S.p.A, emt automation, EPI-Pack d.o.o., Epson, ETT , Famag GmBH, Fanuc Robotics, Flexilink, Fuji Machinery Co.,Ltd., Fuji Yusoki Kogyo Co.,Ltd., Gerhard Schubert GmbH, Gudel, HB informatik, Hirata Robotics GmbH, IAI Industrieroboter GmbH, IGM Robotic Systems, IWKA PACKAGING GmbH, Ka-Ha Maskin AB, Kawasaki Robotics, Knapp Logistik Automation, Knoske, Krones, Krones AG, KUKA, Langhammer, Modular Robotic Systems, Motoman Robotics (Yaskawa Electrics), Nachi Robotic Systems Europe GmbH, Nachi UK, Neos Robotics, Neuronics, OCME, OTC Daihen Europe, R.U Robotics Ltd, Rober Industriroboter, Robert Bosch GmbH – Packaging technology Division, Robotic Technology Systems, Ropack material hantering AB, RWeiss, Skinetta, StÃ¤ubli Robotics Ltd, Syskron, TM Robotics Europe (Toshiba), A+F Automation + Fordertechnik Gmbh, AEW Delford Systems (ABB), Automation & Machine Tools Ltd, Autotech Robotics, Barr & Paatz Industrial Automation Ltd, Bradman Lake Ltd., Compar, COPACO Gesellschaft fur Verpackungen mbH & Co. KG, Createc Engineering, Csi Industries BV, Elletric80 AB, Endoline Machinery Ltd., Evershed Robotics, Flex Link, Geiger Handling Systems AG, GeKu UK Ltd, Haith Tickhill Group (Kawasaki) – Packaging, HEFNER, I C S Robotics & Automation Ltd, Jorgensen Engineering, Lofqvist Engineering, Morray Engineering (Fuji Robots), Newtec bag palletizing, Newtec case palletizing, Newtech handling systems. Olag Fraab, Olympus Technologies Ltd., Reis Robotics, Robotics & Design bvba, Rolan Robotics , RTS Flexible Systems International, STH Engineering AB, the TrollhÃ¤ttan-office, Tecnomatix Wittman UK Ltd, Delmia, IngenjÃ¶rsfirma Evert Johansson AB, Robot System Services bvba, FIBRO GmbH, Global Robots Ltd., Guarnerio & Mantelli S.r.l, Hirata Corp of europe Ltd., BARA – The Association for Robotics & Automation, Salford University, Silsoe Research Institute, VDMA, Novartis, Bayer, Sanofi-Aventis, Roche(pharma), Roche- Applied science, LensWista, Pfizer, Bbraun, Hoechst industriepark, Abbott labs, Abbott labs, Novo Nordisk, AstraZeneca, Boehringer Ingelheim, Wyeth pharma, IFPMA, European Generic medicines association (EGA), Helcor, Helcor, Gedeon Richter, Cinfa, Process analysis & automation, Nissan, PSA Peugeot citroen, Volvo, BMW, FIAT, Mazda, Ford, Jaguar, Honda, GM, Opel, Saab, Faurecia, Structuplas(EPIQ), Arccure Technologies, Nanomagnetics, Sony, Siltronic, Zollner elektronik, EPIQ GmbH, Neways advanced applications, Neways electronics prodn, Crystal GmbH, MEMC elec material, Texas Instruments, Philips, celestica, Sanmina, Solectron, Jabil, Elcoteq, Murr Elektronik, Diecasting Technologies Center, Buhler, Schoenneweiss & Co, GT group(die casting), Presbar Diecasting Ltd, Richards Engg. (VULCAN group), Hybe Maskin AB(VULCAN), Schaufler tooling, Carlton Die Casting, Ladbrook mfg ltd, David Brown Capital Aluminium Extrusions, Grundfos, Pedeo, Riskin, Drukguss Hoym GmbH, Metaalgieterij Giesen B.V, Animex(ABB sys integrator), AD Plastics, Mckechnie plastics, BMT Group, OMCO (BMT)
List of keywords: manipulating industrial robot, packaging systems, palletising systems, parts transfer systems, machine tending, Europe, robotics for materials handling, markets
Source: Frost & Sullivan