Germany is the epicenter of Europe’s robotics and automation industry with 38% of all industrial robots in Europe in use in the country. Measured in robot to employee density there is 371 industrial robots per 10,000 employees and in a global perspective Germany ranks number 4 after South Korea, Singapore and Japan.
Germany has a strong position in manufacturing and the share of GDP accounted for by manufacturing is higher than in any other European country. To maintain this position, the Federal Government supports business and science in developing and implementing Industry 4.0, which is currently revolutionizing the industry through digitization and automation.
Compared to traditional manufacturing processes, Industry 4.0 is a quantum leap, which significantly improves efficiency through the use of real-time data, cyber-physical systems and interconnectivity between systems.
One of the latest trends is the use of collaborative robots, the so-called cobots, which are artificially intelligent robots that can handle repetitive and strenuous tasks and are designed to work alongside humans. The human-robot collaboration (HRC) allows the human workers to focus on complex issues instead of manual tasks and thus increases productivity.
In Germany, the projected sales of cobots in 2025 is more than 71,000 units. A considerable amount considering that Germany had a total of 221,500 units in 2020.
Another key technology within automation is machine vision (MV), which is the use of cameras that allow the robot to recognize objects and pick them up in any orientation. This increases flexibility and reduces programming time resulting in increased productivity and reduced costs.
The automotive industry was the first industry to adopt industrial robots in the production and as the largest industry in Germany measured in turnover, it is also the main client of industrial robots. Robots are used in nearly every stage of automotive manufacturing and are key to competitiveness. The uses include painting, welding, assembly, material removal, part transfer and machine tending. Using cobots in the manufacturing process requires less floor space than traditional robots as no safety guarding is required, making it easier to integrate cobots into existing structures in the factory.
Other significant areas of application are the electrical and electronics industry as well as metal, food and packaging.
Automation and robotics are key technologies in Germany and research and innovation are heavily subsidized both at federal and state level. The German federal Hightech-Strategy and its Plattform Industrie 4.0 has (manufacturing) robotics in focus. The Hightech Agenda, and subsequently Hightech Agenda Plus, of the Bavarian Government includes a strong focus and substantial financial support to the technological strongholds of Bavaria, including robotics.
The automotive industry uses robotics to a very large degree, closely followed by the electrical and electronics industry, metal, food and packaging industries.
Munich School of Robotics and Machine Intelligence (MIRMI) at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) is a highly recognized interdisciplinary research institute, which cooperates with local partners from politics, society, industry, start-ups and the broader research community. The institute’s goal is to develop solutions for the central societal challenges in the sectors of health, work, environment and mobility through research in robotics, perception, and artificial intelligence. By working closely with the industry, MIRMI aims to develop research into marketable services, product and companies.
The subsidies foster a start-up environment e.g. through establishment of the deep tech incubator, robo.innovate, which bring together founders, start-ups, scientists, industry and investors on their journey to develop intelligent robotics.
Investment companies, private equity firms and venture capital funds as well as business angels and family offices are actively investing in robotics start-ups. The trend of using cobots extends the areas of application making robotics an even more attractive investment.
Please reach out to Line Holm Nedergaard, Innovation Advisor, Innovation Centre Denmark – Munich: firstname.lastname@example.org for any inquiries. We offer our services to corporates, SMEs and academic partners looking to dive further into the area of robotics and automation.