The types of jobs that robots can do are rapidly changing, as new technologies and companies emerge to serve industry needs. In Spain, mobile robots are quickly becoming one of the most important offerings for local automation suppliers, according to a report released today.
Over the past 10 years, the number of new businesses specialized in automating logistics applications has increased by 45% in Spain, found HowToRobot in a market report published today. This is a significant increase in comparison with the overall number of robot and automation suppliers founded between 2012 and 2022, growing by 31%, it said.
“We are seeing a lot of new and growing businesses related to mobile robots and logistics coming out of Spain,” said Søren Peters, CEO of HowToRobot.com and Gain & Co. “It is definitely a market worth watching.”
HowToRobot and Gain & Co. collaborated with AER Automation, the Spanish association for robotics and automation, on the study. Spain ranks 19th in the world in terms of robot density, with 167 robots per 10,000 human workers, said the International Federation of Robotics (IFR).
Spain is home to many integrators
The report identified a total of 384 robotics and automation suppliers in Spain. The vast majority of them—65%— were integrators, with 11 % being robot manufacturers.
While most industrial robots in Spain are imported, a significant numer of mobile robots was developed and manufactured locally, said the report. With 96% of Spanish companies having nine or fewer employees, the need for service providers is significant, said HowToRobot.
“Spain is in a leading position with many local suppliers and manufacturers of mobile robots that are exporting their technology,” said Alex Salvador, managing director of AER Automation.
“There are good business conditions driving this development: A relative low cost of producing the robots in Spain and a growing need from local automotive and aeronautics manufacturers for automating their logistics operations,” he added.
Mobile robots pick up business
Examples of noteworthy mobile robot companies coming out of Spain include ASTI Mobile Robotics, which ABB acquired in 2021 for $190 million. The company is known for its wide range of autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) used in many industries.
The Spanish robot industry has also given birth to mobile robot companies with niche applications such as DTA. The Madrid-based company manufactures some of the world’s largest automated guided vehicles (AGVs). They can carry items, such as aircraft parts, weighing up to 600 tons.
Other examples include Madrid-based Atlas Robots, which specializes in mobile robots for pallet transport, and Barcelona-based Kivnon, maker and exporter of mobile robots to Europe, North America, and South America.
In addition, Valencia-based Robotnik is known for its mobile robots for both indoor and outdoor use, sometimes including robot arms for mobile manipulation.
The report noted that many startups are further expanding the use cases for mobile robots with new technologies. For instance, Steering Machines in Barcelona provides a robot with omnidirectional wheels that can navigate in tiny spaces.
“The increasing number of robot businesses – especially within mobile – in Spain presents a growing opportunity for international players looking for new business partners in the field and expanding their portfolio,” said Salvador. “We expect some more M&A [merger and acquisition] activity in the time to come.”
For more statistics and data about the Spainish robotics market, a free preview and purchase options are avalilable at HowToRobot.com.