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German robotics industry booming but supply chains severely disrupted

VDMA Robotics + Automation: German industry outlook 2022
German robotics industry booming but supply chains severely disrupted

Frank Konrad, Chairman of VDMA Robotics Automation and CEO of Hahn Automation GmbH in Rheinböllen, Germany

Source: VDMA

The German robotics and automation industry is experiencing a boom in demand, according to the mechanical engineering industry association VDMA. In the first four months of 2022, order intake increased by 38 percent year-on-year. In 2021, industry turnover rose by 13 percent. “The robotics and automation industry is booming,” says Frank Konrad, Chairman of the VDMA Robotics + Automation Association. “However, suppliers will not be able to process the orders as quickly as usual. The challenge now is to manage bottlenecks in the supply chains.”

With a predicted growth of 6 percent, the industry forecast for robotics and automation is also positive for 2022 – but remains below previous expectations, reflecting the severely disrupted supply chains. In particular, a shortage of electrical and electronic components is extending delivery times.

The three subsectors of robotics and automation in Germany developed differently in 2021. Machine vision gained 16 percent: industry sales reached 3.1 billion euros. Robotics sales rose by 13 percent to 3.5 billion euros. Integrated assembly solutions recorded an 11 percent increase in sales to 7.1 billion euros. Overall, sales in robotics and automation rose by 13 percent to 13.6 billion euros – more than originally expected.

Forecast 2022

VDMA Robotics + Automation forecasts a 7 percent increase in sales for integrated assembly solutions to 7.6 billion euros in 2022. In robotics, growth of 5 percent to 3.6 billion euros is expected. Machine vision is also set to grow by 5 percent, corresponding to sales of 3.2 billion euros.

“The overall robotics and automation forecast is plus 6 percent with an expected industry turnover of 14.4 billion euros,” says Konrad. „Robotics and automation in 2022 is thus almost headed for the strong pre-crisis level of 14.7 billion euros of 2019.”

Skills shortage

Robotics and automation companies are facing a labor and skills shortage that is accelerating as the “baby boomer” generation retires from the job market. Given the important tasks ahead, this is increasingly becoming a risk factor. „The labor shortage cannot be solved by robotics and automation alone,” says Konrad. “Companies are doing their best to address the shortage of young talent. However, we need a stronger commitment from policymakers: Particularly in Germany, the shortage of personnel threatens to become the next major bottleneck factor, following the current disruptions in supply chains.”

VDMA represents over 3,400 German and European companies.


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