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Germany expects automation sales to break record in 2023

20 June, 2023

Germany’s robotics and automation sector is predicting that its sales will climb by 13% this year to hit an all-time high of €16.2bn, despite the country currently being in a recession. This follows a 5% rise in sales to €14.3bn during 2022.

According to the industry’s trade body VDMA, many suppliers have full order books. Frank Konrad, chairman of VDMA’s Robotics + Automation division, expects the sector’s previous sales record of €15.1bn, set in 2018, to be “significantly exceeded”.

“During the pandemic,” he reports, “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 demand for robotics and automation is also being driven by transformative trends such as the automotive sector developing new manufacturing techniques for electric vehicles. In addition, the expanding adoption of renewable energy is requiring cost-effective, automated mass production of technologies such as fuel cells.

During 2023, VDMA expects:
• sales of “integrated assembly solutions” to climb by 17% to €8.7bn;
• robotics sales to grow by 12% to €3.9bn; and
• sales of industrial image-processing equipment to expand by 7% to reach €3.6bn.

VDMA expects 2023 sales in Germany’s robotics and automation sector (shown in billions of Euros) to break the previous record set in 2018
Source: VDMA Robotics + Automation

But the VDMA also warns that China is likely to overtake Germany this year in terms of industrial robot density (robots installed per 10,000 manufacturing workers). “With regard to the fierce global competition, there is no time to be complacent,” Konrad cautions. “We therefore welcome the initiative of Chancellor Olaf Scholz to strengthen robotics and automation in Germany.”

The VDMA sees significant potential for automation in the service sector which generates 70% of the Germany’s economic value. It suggests that service robotics are urgently needed, for example, for the country to remain productive despite a shortage of skilled staff in areas such as laboratory automation.

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