Robotics supply chain may be slowed by Japanese earthquake and component shortages

The IFR expects that the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, combined with ongoing extended delivery times caused by a shortage of components, will slow the global growth rate for industrial robots in 2011, shifting some of the growth to 2012.

TheInternational Federation of Robotics (IFR; Frankfurt, Germany) says that the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, combined with ongoing extended delivery times caused by a shortage of components, may slow the global growth rate for industrial robots in 2011, shifting some of the growth to 2012.

The IFR says the prospects for 2011 and beyond are promising as therobotics industry benefits from the increasing demand for automation especially in the growing Asian markets. In 2011, an increase of robot sales of 10-15% is expected, which would bring a new peak of approximately 130,000 sold units. Between 2012 and 2014 a moderate annual average growth rate of 5% is more likely.

This forecast was made by the IFR before the earthquake in Japan and its effects on the Japanese economy. During the IFR Industrial Robot Suppliers Meeting on March 24, in Chicago, a threat analysis was performed with input from robot suppliers around the world. As a result, the IFR believes:

  • Strong demand is continuing. The incoming orders were still increasing substantially in Q1 2011. The economic upswing is causing longer delivery times for robot components and complete robot systems.
  • Most suppliers of robots and components for robots in Japan are continuing to produce and ship products, but the shortage of energy in Japan and the partial destruction of production sites in certain areas will very likely lead to a shortage of components for robots for both Japanese and export markets, which will lead to a further delay in delivery times for robots.
  • Depending on the duration of the shortage of components on the world market, the expected increase of turnover will in part be shifted from 2011 to 2012. A likely scenario is that the growth rate for 2011 will be less than 15% and that the growth rate for 2012 will be above 5%. The IFR believes that the turnover of robotics industry will increase by about 20% over both years together.

The IFR is closely monitoring supply chain developments and remains in contact with the Japan Robot Association (JARA).

SOURCE:IFR

--Posted byVision Systems Design

More in Factory