Eighty percent of UK machinery manufacturers are missing out on getting the best deal from robot and automation suppliers because they don’t check global market prices when buying, servicing or upgrading industrial robots, says new research from global robot hub HowToRobot.com.
The research shows that only 20% of design and production engineers get more than one quote when developing robotics systems, while the majority of those surveyed normally ask just one local supplier for help. Additionally, the research indicates that although many companies recognise the need to implement robotics solutions to improve productivity and consistency, or to reduce operating costs, they often lack the vital knowledge of where to start or how to select the best partner to help them achieve their goals.
Søren Peters, HowToRobot CEO, says: “The demand for robotics and automation systems is growing rapidly, creating a complex market dynamic. We’re seeing many new players, from component suppliers to specialised systems integrators and service companies, entering the market. New technologies are emerging, which command price premiums, while at the same time a growing number of products are becoming commoditised, with prices falling. Yet a significant percentage of end users lack the knowledge, time and resources to be able to capitalise effectively on the opportunities available.”
HowToRobot also reports that a worrying number of companies invest heavily in robotics or automation technology for development purposes, but this technology is never subsequently converted into commercial or production solutions. “There is still limited understanding of how best to develop a robotic solution that genuinely meets commercial needs”, adds Peters. “Additionally, many companies discover that the cost of such a solution can quickly escalate: a robot arm may look competitively priced, but by the time a support platform, ancillaries, software, maintenance and support are built into the equation the true cost can be considerable.”
Peters adds, “We see too many cases of manufacturers buying a robot without knowing the full cost of operating, maintaining and upgrading it. Having a clear understanding of market prices and access to specialised knowledge and skills makes it significantly easier for manufacturers to reap the benefits of robotics. Without a global market overview, it will be like going into the supermarket with a blindfold on.
One of the challenges for UK manufacturers is finding a centralised resource that gives them access to the information, products and services that they need to help them develop successful robotics and automation systems. This is where a platform such as HowToRobot comes into play, as it creates a marketplace where suppliers and end users can come together to exchange ideas and start to build commercial relationships.
HowToRobot is the world’s largest robot hub connecting end-customers with more than 15,000 robot and automation suppliers. Companies can receive quotes from suppliers on robot and automation solutions, components, spare parts, training, maintenance and repair service and expert consultancy.