Cobotics Around The World – India: All SMEs aboard! the cobot ferry is ready to ship out to the future of manufacturing

Two years ago, when Universal Robots entered into the Indian market, the horizon was filled by doubts and few believed in such a fast development of the cobotics sector among Indian SMEs. But cobots kept their promises and now they are concretely helping companies to scale their business and enhancing their quality significantly, pushing the country to become a leader of the automation scenario of the future.
Who better than Mr. Pradeep David, South Asia General Manager of Universal Robots, to tell us how this has been possible and how it is going to evolve?

Here below its insightful answers for Cobotics World.

[CW] Two years ago you gave an interesting overview of the Indian Cobotics market to Dqindia [1] where you forecasted the incredible growth of this segment and you highlighted a lack of awareness on the cobot value as the major challenge you were facing in the Indian context.
Now, after two years of growth, how would you describe the evolution of this sector? Which are the main challenges to address in the next years?

[Mr. Pradeep] The growth in India has been steady. IFR reports that 4,500 industrial robots made their way into India in 2018 with the CAGR hovering around 19% overall which is quite respectable. Cobots are a newly emerging sector in India, with a higher growth rate as would be expected from a smaller installed base. With India’s GDP growth rate projected to be over 7% in the coming years (the highest among the major world economies), and a strong business-focused government at the helm, prospects for growth in robotics remains high. For the first time, we’re seeing several SME’s and MSME’s adopt cobot technology and find it affordable, improving productivity and quality dramatically, so this is no longer the domain of only the well-known automotive OEM’s.

[CW] In 2018 Universal Robots President Jurgen Van Hollen said the company had sold in the previous two years about 400 cobots [2]. When compared with the IFR data [3] about industrial robots sold units in India in 2017 and 2018 (6039 units) it clearly stands out how cobots already make up more than 6% of total robots sales, twice the global average.
Did you expect this trend? Do you believe the gap with the other countries will increase? Could you point the main factors that make the Indian country a so prolific area for cobotics?

[Mr. Pradeep] Cobots are “the great equalizer”, as stated by UR President, Jürgen von Hollen. About 2 years ago, we didn’t have too many SME customers but that has changed. New Engineering Works (Jamshedpur), Craft & Technic (Pune), Shruti Engineers (Pune), Sai Engravers (Gurgaon) and Udhayam Dal (Chennai) are examples of SME’s adopting cobots very successfully. All these stories / videos can be found at the following link [4].
SME sector of India is considered as the backbone of economy contributing to 45% of industrial output, 40% of India’s exports, employing 60 million people, creating 1.3 million jobs every year and producing more than 8000 quality products for the Indian and international markets.
Hence the potential for cobots to do well in India is immense, now that SME’s have begun adopting the technology.

[CW] Many new cobots were launched onto the market in the last years, reaching more than 150 different models.
Which is the impact of this wave of development on the Universal Robots Indian market? Which competitors do you believe are a real treat for the company business? Svaya Robotics developed the first Indian collaborative robot, do you believe this to be the right moment for the country to invest in the local development of collaborative solutions?

[Mr. Pradeep] Universal Robots is the pioneer and inventor of cobots with over 34,000 units deployed globally and 65 patents. With 10 years of Commercial experience under our belt, we have a wealth of application expertise making us the best choice for risk averse customers. We believe that competition is good as awareness spreads even further with pooled marketing efforts, leading to more choices for customers.