IFR press release

President´s Report

The recovery of the global robotics industry - a never ending story?

Åke Lindqvist, IFR-President

Dear Members,

The recovery of the global robotics industry - a never ending story? During more than 30 years in the robotics business, I never saw such a strong and ongoing recovery of robot demand. In the first three quarters of 2010 the robot sales doubled compared to the same period in 2009, the result of the global financial and economical crisis. Already in 2010, we will be back on the peak levels of 2007 and 2008. During the crisis many companies in all kind of industries stopped investments and reorganized their business. Increase of productivity, environmental protection and establishing in emerging markets were the drivers of the again arising trend towards automation since the end of 2009.

Now at the end of 2010, the orders for industrial robots are still promising. The trend towards automation is continuing. John Dulchinos, CEO of our member company Adept, USA, recently stated: "The strong growth in North America reflects the increasing role robotics is playing in improving productivity across the manufacturing and soft goods sectors and the emerging role robotics is playing in addressing the needs of the services market." I think this statement is also valid for the global robotics business.

But let us also be realistic.  The strong increase we have seen is a recovery, and also partly an effect of an accumulated demand.

However, even though there are still many question marks about the sustainability of the recovery of the overall economy, I still think there are reasons to believe that we will continue to see an increasing demand for robotics at the levels we saw before the economic crisis.

We are now looking forward to the next important automation and robot show, the Automate 2011 from 21 to 24 of March 2011 in Chicago and the International Symposium on Robotics, the ISR 2011, which is running in parallel to the show. Innovations in robotics and machine vision will be presented at the show and during the ISR. The ISR agenda shows a lot of interesting keynotes and lectures not only from researchers but also examples of successful applications.

So, it seems that the success story of robotics is not ending. With this promising statement I will send you by best wishes for the upcoming Holiday Seasons and for the New Year.

Åke Lindqvist
IFR President