The new World Robotics 2020 Industrial Robots report presented by the International Federation of Robotics shows a record of about 21,700 industrial robots operating in factories of the United Kingdom – an increase of 5%.
While the total number of robots in operation has reached an all-time high, sales of new robots have slowed, with 2,000 units shipped in 2019. This is 16% less compared to 2018.
As for the outlook, even without the coronavirus, investments in the UK were already dampened because of the currently unclear Brexit situation. The uncertainty is inhibiting the necessary modernisation of manufacturing production facilities. It will also determine the speed of economic recovery after the pandemic. Brexit might, however, drive robot installations in the UK as immigrants from Eastern Europe return to their home countries. Short-run figures will be impacted by the COVID-19 situation, which will likely see rising unemployment. When the economy recovers and labour becomes a scarce resource again, the demand for robots might start to rise.