Fears of trade wars and with lower demand from China are some of the significant variables in the cooling of Germany’s exports of industrial automation and robotics.
On Tuesday, Germany’s VDMA, a mechanical engineering association stated, sales of automation equipment and robotics from Germany, which has so far been en engine for the country’s exports-driven economy, is expected to cool down following growing international trade tensions.
VDMA expects the sales of German robotics and automation equipment to touch $18.5 billion (15.8 billion euros) in 2018, a slowdown of 13% in comparison to 2017 where strong demand from China helped propel sales to 14.5 billion euros.
“2017 was a very strong year for our industry,” said Norbert Stein, chairman of the VDMA’s robotics and automation association.
From 2010 to 2017, the sector grew at an average rate of 10% per year and almost doubled its sales in the same period, said Stein.
With increasing labor costs, global demand for industrial robots have surged with the sector seeing increasing technology and sophistication in the field of robotics and automation.
According to the VDMA, 2017’s record demand had “increased delivery times which would have a positive impact on 2018 sales”.
Exports to China have soared by 60% while demand in the U.S. was also dynamic; demand from the EU has remained moderate, said VDMA.
Leading robotics and automation providers include industrial robot maker Kuka, which was acquired by China’s home appliance maker Midea, Germany’s Siemens, Switzerland’s ABB and Japan’s Fanuc.