A rapidly evolving industry
“In Germany, along with the auto industry, metalworking, machine construction and chemicals and plastics will have to become more automized to remain competitive,” says Susanne Bieller, the general secretary of the International Federation of Robotics (IFR).
“Robotics has an infinite potential for a range of possible applications,” says Germany Trade & Invest robotics expert Claudia Grüne. “In the food industry, for example, or logistics, where self-driving robot vehicles should become increasingly prevalent.”
German turnover in robotics and automation has grown by 50 percent in recent years, from EUR 10.4 billion in 2013 to an estimated EUR 15.7 billion in 2019. The percentage of German-made robots for export is also on the rise – the International Federation of Robotics forecasts 12 percent annual global growth between now and 2022.
The value of Germany’s robotics industry became evident in 2016 when China’s Midea Group took over industrial robot powerhouse Kuka in Augsburg. But mergers and acquisitions are just one way for international players to get involved in the German sector.
Robots are evolving all the time. Alongside networked industrial models, increasing numbers of service robots will assist human beings in our homes, places of work and hospitals. And in addition to industry giants like Kuka, Siemens or Dürr, there are hundreds of SMEs in Germany working in the field.
One of the top trends is for ‘cobots’ – collaborative industrial robots that work in conjunction with human beings rather than replacing them entirely. “Industry analysts expect cobots to become more and more important in the years to come, particularly as the price for things like sensors and other technology falls,” says Grüne.