“SME Robotization Barometer” Research: Romanian Entrepreneurs Plan to Invest in Robotization


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  • More than 1/4 of small and medium-sized Romanian manufacturing enterprises (SME) are planning to robotize their production in the next 3 years
  • Around 40% of above-mentioned companies plan to implement collaborative robots
  • The most important factor which motivates Romanian SME’s to robotize is an increase in the quality of the product.

Almost 28% of small and medium manufacturing companies are planning robotization in the next 3 years – shows the SME Robotization Barometer research, commissioned by Universal Robots. 38.8% from this companies plan to implement cobots, however, this indicator is correlated with the size of business – 43.3% of the representatives of small businesses would like to implement cobots, whereas in middle-size businesses only 16.7% said they are looking to integrate collaborative robots. The study was conducted by an independent research agency in March 2020.

What does SME expect from robotization?

The most important factor which motivates 100% of the Romanian SME’s to implement robotic automation is an increase in the quality of the product. At this chapter, the second place is occupied by two on par expectation: increase of competitiveness and increase of production volume with 97.8%. Also, companies would like that with help of the robots to reduce the lead time (92.7%), to lower production costs and therefore improve its efficiency (92.2%), to eliminate human errors (91.4%), to obtain the standardization of processes (90,5%), as well as to increase production flexibility (88.8%) and work safety (88.5%).

When coming to the applications that the participants at the study are planning to robotize in the first place these are the following: assembly (57%), pick and place (55.9%), packaging and palletizing (47.7%), loading/unloading (46.5%).

17.3% of companies from Romania expect a return on investment in robots in less than six months, 28.4% from 6 months to a year, 18.8% between 1 and 2 years, 14.2% between 2 and 3 years, 7.8% between 3 and 4 years, whereas 9.3% within 5 years or more. Naturally, entrepreneurs would like this period to be as short as possible, nearly 60% of respondents indicate 1 year as optimal time ROI, while almost 86% don’t want to exceed two years.

“The tendency of players in the market is to increasingly automate production processes in order to become as efficient as possible and increase productivity. Certainly, investing in robots in the coming years is one of the logical steps for the SME’s that want to start the automation, in an era in which we are heading to complete automation, and to become more competitive. And collaborative robots are a suitable automation solution for those who embark on this path due to the fact that they are versatile, easy to program, small, lightweight and accessible, and can work hand to hand with human employees supporting them in the most complex tasks. The gratifying aspect is that more and more local entrepreneurs are starting to consider automation with cobots in the next period”, says Razvan Isac, Channel Development Manager Romania & Balkans, Universal Robots.

Cobots – the answer for Romanian SME’s needs

Companies which are not planning to invest in robotization indicate that the costs of robots incorporation are too high (69%), production profile doesn’t require installation of robots (54.6%), production scale is too small (54.5%), their applications cannot be robotized (54.4%), their production scale doesn’t require robotization (44.2%).

So there are many doubts among the entrepreneurs raised for various reasons, which keep them from automating their production. Cobots can be the answer to their doubts. Businesses employing even less than 10 people can afford cobots which have an estimated payback of just a few months. Collaborative robots have created new automation opportunities in the most diverse industries, improving the elasticity of production processes not only in large production companies but also in small and medium enterprises. They are easy to deploy and occupy a restricted area in the spaces they operate in. These robots have also revolutionized the approach to safety by creating an environment where man and machine can work together safely. Cobots can be deployed easily to support employees in activities such as assembling components, packaging or palletizing goods without needing any programming skills. Their programming, depending on the complexity of the task carried out, can take even to a less experienced member of the team only a few hours. With the cobots help the monotonous, tedious and dangerous jobs are not a burden anymore for the human workers. The most convincing arguments for Romanian small and medium-sized enterprises in acquiring collaborative robots are the accessible price (30.8%), the return on investment (23.5%) and the ease of use (15%).

Regarding the perception of cobots and their features, 64.3% of the respondents see collaborative robots as being safe to work with people, 48.8% believe they can perform tasks that were impossible to automate in the past and 41.8% consider cobots significantly more cost-effective compared to traditional industrial robots. 21.5% from the studied group, expressed no opinion on the matter.

38.8% of SMEs considering robotization in the next three years plan to implement collaborative robots, 58.6% indicated industrial robots, whereas 10.3% did not decide yet.

Research “SME Robotization Barometer” was conducted by SC&C research company on the group of 186 small and medium-sized Romanian businesses in March 2020. In the survey participated companies from the following industries: metals and machinery; plastics processing; chemical products; food and tobacco products; wood and wood products (including furniture); textiles, leather and clothing; electric and electronic; building materials; automotive; paper and paper products, printing; glassware, ceramics, stone and minerals. The survey was conducted using CATI and on behalf of Universal Robots.

Universal Robots was founded in 2005 to make robot technology accessible to all by developing small, user-friendly, reasonably priced, flexible industrial robots that are safe to work with. Since the first collaborative robot (cobot) was launched in 2008, the company has experienced considerable growth with the user-friendly cobot now sold worldwide. The company, which is a part of Teradyne Inc., is headquartered in Odense, Denmark, and has subsidiaries and regional offices in the United States, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, Romania, Russia, Turkey, China, India, Singapore, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Mexico. In 2018, Universal Robots had a revenue of USD 234 million.

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