Rise of the Robots – The Growth of Industrial Robots in the UK

From robotic dragonfly sized drones to telepresence robots, the use of robotics is becoming more prevalent. I therefore shouldn’t be surprised to hear UK robots sales in the second quarter of 2013 were almost as large as sales for the whole of 2011.


David Moyes

It wasn’t too long ago that industrial robots were really only used in the automotive sector.  Up until five years ago the only robot repairs we did were for the UK car industry. Although the automotive sector still account for 79% of robotic sales in the UK, sales to other non-automotive sectors have almost doubled since 2009.  A lot of these sales were to larger manufacturers in the food and drink sector however we have seen a number of smaller companies looking to gain a competitive advantage by using robots.

Last week, I went to visit a long-term customer who were looking to retrofit a Control Panel with the latest Siemens PLC and Danfoss drives. The company, a manufacturer of cardboard boxes, are based in a small village deep in the Yorkshire Dales .

They have a plant full of robots, surprising as they are in the middle of nowhere – the Yorkshire Dales is not the sort of place you associate with the kind of technology

And I thought it was just a screen with a webcam on a trolley.
being employed in this plant. The cost advantage was clear to see, one operator was responsible for four machines – previously each machine had its own operator.  You could argue that this is the only way UK manufacturing can be competitive with the Far East.

Earlier this month, Forbes published an article on the rise of the telepresence robots, where workers in Silicon Valley were using robots with a screen in the workplace and controlling them from home. These new robots allow them to have a presence in the office without physically being there. You wonder if this technology will be used in the future to provide onsite support to customers.

With these new developments, not just in the industrial sector but also in the office, it’s only natural that here at Northern Industrial we are changing our service to incorporate robots. We will be evolving our current test facilities to incorporate more robotics alongside traditional automation equipment such as variable speed drives, PLCs and HMIs. Our engineers already have experience in a range of well-known manufacturers of robots including Panasonic, Bosch, Yaskawa and Mitsubishi.

If you are thinking about incorporating robots into your plant or already have some and want to ensure you have a repair or service plan in place, get in touch with us and we can work out your needs together.

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