Indian robotics industry expected to double over next 3-4 year
The trend toward robotic automation is increasing in India; however, it is still in its infancy in several sectors
Jamly John,Regional Manager (Western Region),Robotics and Automation,VDMA India
Indian economy is growing, despite the economic crisis that engulfed the world with the national investment rate at around 33-34 per cent and is expected to increase to 36 per cent by the end of 12th Five-Year Plan (2012-17). India has been adjourned the 5th best country in the world for dynamic growing businesses and gives a reflection of how suitable an environment the country offers for dynamic businesses. Indian tax climate was also considered to be reasonably favourable and India continued to be an attractive investment destination. Moreover, India is ranked 4th on renewable attractiveness index, 2nd on the solar index and 3rd on the wind index. India is expected to be the 2nd largest manufacturing country in the next 5 years, followed by Brazil.
Today India’s GDP per hour worked out is 1/5th of Germany. As the 7-8 per cent GDP is accessed on the base effect, the growth, in practical terms, is very small for the size of population in India. As the competitive world is flat, there is a need to be close to world standards in terms of quality, consistency, predictability and rate of improvement of above.
The global market for industrial robotics projects are close to 143,000 units by 2015, resulting from expanding application possibilities, technology developments, rising value propositions, demographic shifts, and ensuing labour shortages. By the same year, the global robotics industry is estimated to be worth $17.6 billion with the Indian robotics industry worth approximately $750 million and is expected to double over the next 3-4 years.
This global trend toward adoption of robotic automation is increasing in India but still in early stages. Automation still being in its infancy in several sectors is a reflection of being in the “low value-addition” zone. India is required to leapfrog to “higher value addition” manufacturing processes. The real drive for automation started only in 1997, and India is lagging behind in comparison to the world growth in automation sector. The factors affecting the automation sector in India is the political scenario. The economy condition is prevailing the social and technological challenges.
Indian industries have realised the importance of robotics and automation and are willing to make substantial investments as the cost of skilled labour is rising and production processes are getting speeded up without compromising quality standards. These factors are forcing Indian manufacturers to consider industrial robots as a viable option, despite the relatively high-capital costs. Industrial economists recommend that robotics and automation will save costs in the long run.
Growing demand for industrial robots has attracted leading global manufacturers of robots as Kuka Robotics, ABB, Fanuc etc. to set up facilities in India to serve the Indian market. India’s transformation into an automobile hub, with several leading international auto majors in the country, becomes the primary driver for the robotics and automation industry. The Indian manufacturing arena is poised to grow larger in the coming decades; thereby robotics industry business will remain vibrant.
The automation industry is driven currently by the automotive, power, chemicals and fertilisers, and oil and gas sectors.The other sectors that also use automation to lower variance are the pharmaceutical, food and beverages, water and wastewater, cement, textile, metals, and the mining industry.
The challenges faced by India today are:• Increase knowledge and awareness levels about the role of automation and its value proposition• Help Indian industry leverage cutting-edge automation technologies to be globally competitive• Enhance top management integrated automation• Create sensitivity to benefits of automation and build synergy amongst industry, researchers, policy makers and users through seminars and symposia• Support safety and compliance standards in manufacturing• Attract job aspiring community to automation.
The lack of skilled workforce is one of the major challenges faced in the country by most of the industries. The workforce is usually underutilised to their capacities by assigning lower-level jobs which restricts the growth of the employee and employer. The automotive sector has been the driving force for automation, but the focus has now shifted to sectors like food, packaging, pharma and education too. There is a necessity of a platform to be created where the engineering students (who are the future employees of these industries using robotics and automation) are well informed about automation. This platform could be created by industry bodies and their members by offering seminars in the institutes and giving them a hands-on experience of practical work with robotics and automation before joining an organisation.
The world is automating, expects further growthThe VDMA Robotics and Automation Association has more than 220 members, producing machine vision and camera systems, integrated assembly solutions as well as robotics. With their production know-how, they make manufacturers competitive everywhere in the world. This and the ongoing worldwide trend toward automation might be the reason for the turnover increase by 35 per cent in 2011. For 2012 and 2013, the manufacturers of robotics and machine vision expect further growth which will lead to a new turnover record in the amount of €10.8 billion in 2013, adding a new chapter to the success story of German robotics and automation.
According to the International Federation of Robotics, almost 170,000 industrial robots were sold in 2011. This was by far the highest number of annual sales and 38 per cent more than in 2010. The value of sales surged by 46 per cent to $8.5 billion, a new record. Including the cost of software, peripherals and system engineering, the market was estimated to be $25.5 billion.
Drivers of the growth were China, United States and Germany with growth rates between 39-51 per cent. Again, like in 2010, the automotive industry was the driver of the growth with continuing modernisation and increase of capacities in emerging markets resulting in high orders. The trend toward automation boosted robot sales also to other industries, such as metal and machinery industry, and electrical and electronics industry.
There is still a high potential for robot installations in almost all industries. On global average, the robot density is still low: only about 55 robots are installed per 10,000 employees in the manufacturing industries. South Korea, Japan and Germany are the most automated countries in the world with robot densities between 347 and 261. In most emerging markets, the robot density is still far below average.
The success story of industrial robots is continuing in 2012 and beyond. Despite the weakening global economic situation a further robot sales increase of about 9 per cent to about 181,000 units is likely in 2012. Between 2013 and 2015 worldwide robot sales will increase by about 5 per cent on average a year. In 2015, the annual supply of industrial robots will reach more than 200,000 units. At the end of 2015, almost 1.6 billion industrial robots will be in operation in the factories worldwide. The stock of Asia will have the most dynamic growth because of China, Korea and other strong growing robot markets. Significant increase of the stock is also expected in North America and Brazil.
In 2011, robot sales in India doubled to 1,547 units are expected to rise to about 4,000 units a year until 2015. The main applications of robots in India are welding, handling and dispensing. Hence, it is likely that more than 70 per cent of the robot sales ended up in the automotive industry.
Contribution of VDMA Robotics and Automation DivisionFocus of activities for VDMA Robotics and Automation will be the further assistance of members to enter new markets and industries, promotion and further development of AUTOMATICA, the leading international trade fair for robotics and automation, representation and assistance towards standardisation bodies and activities, networking support for the robotics and automation industry, and promoting robotics and automation as key enabler for sustainable solutions.
Indian robotics industry expected to double over next 3-4 year