Robot sales have soared in the first quarter of 2012, outstripping sales in any other quarter to date. Significant orders from automotive manufacturing facilities are behind the trend.
A total of 923 units were sold January through March, which is already 70% of the number sold during the whole of 2011. Around 85% of the quarter's sales have come from the automotive industry as a result of large investments in this sector to date this year.
Mike Wilson, chairman of the British Automation and Robot Association said: “Some of these orders are bigger than anyone has ever places before in the UK. As a results we have got a very significant quarter.”
Wilson goes on: “The worrying thing is that the underlying orders from more general industry have not increase and in some sectors have gone down versus this time last year.”
He adds the country slipping back into recession could be behind the slump in orders from other sectors like food and drink. “Its too early to say but it may be that companies have delayed investment as they did in 2008–2009 because of concerns about what is going to happen in the next 12 months. We are hoping this is a short term effect. Most of the companies that I talk to seem very positive.”