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In the first in-depth overview of the Australian robotics industry published to date, global automation marketplace HowToRobot has collaborated with not-for-profit Robotics Australia Group to reveal how Australia’s robotics industry is leveraging the country’s unique strengths in the global robotics race.

The research report shows an emerging, fast-growing industry of 466 robot and automation suppliers with a unique potential for tapping into the growing global demand for robotics and automation. 

“Many societies struggle with labour shortages and ageing populations and need robots and automation to maintain living standards. They will count on robots to automate not only factories but also many other sectors, where Australia has a strong focus,” said Søren Peters, CEO of HowToRobot.

Australian mix of factory and field robots

Australia’s robotics industry has specialised in automation for both “factory” and “field”, including many sectors not traditionally served by robotics companies in other markets. This includes, among others, the mining sector served by 29 per cent of Australia’s robotics companies according to our research. The Construction and Agriculture & Forestry sectors are also strongly represented, with 20 per cent and 19 per cent of robotics companies serving each sector, respectively.

Packaging and palletising is one of the main functions that robots are used for in Australia. Image: Foodmach/ABB
Packaging and palletising is one of the main functions that robots are used for in Australia. Image: Foodmach/ABB

“As a country with vast geography and few people, we have developed a special expertise in field robotics, which can operate in challenging, unstructured environments,” said Dr Sue Keay, chair of Robotics Australia Group.

Examples include swarms of robots used in agriculture, underwater robots for offshore inspection, mobile robots for inspecting outdoor areas that are difficult to access, and many others. Most commonly, robotics companies in Australia focus on automating tasks that are found across a range of industries, such as handling and picking items (covered by 51 per cent of robotics suppliers), inspection and quality control (37 per cent of suppliers), logistics and storage functions (33 per cent of suppliers), and packing and palletising (28 per cent of suppliers).

Industry overview supports robotics growth

The effort to map out robotics providers in Australia is important to help break down one of the main barriers to robot adoption, Peters said: “A growing number of businesses need automation but often struggle with getting started. Where do you find the right solution and business to provide it if you don’t know where to look?”

“Providing an overview of the industry is a first step towards bringing our global marketplace to Australia and making it easier for businesses to find the right robotics and automation providers,” he added.

The report provides an overview of who the robot and automation suppliers in Australia are, what they do, and who they serve. The overview is not only useful for businesses dealing directly with the robotics industry according to Sue Keay. It also helps build a better public understanding of robotics in Australia at a key moment.

“Robotics is on the public agenda like never before with the upcoming national robotics strategy. Knowing who our robotics providers are helps us understand the key strengths of the industry to build on,” Keay said.

Highlights from the report

The ‘2023 Market Overview of Robot and Automation Companies in Australia’ is based on research conducted by HowToRobot.com in collaboration with Robotics Australia Group. Some of the key findings include:

  • The robotics industry in Australia includes 466 suppliers; among these, 57 per cent are integrators, 19 per cent robot manufacturers (including drones), 15 per cent component suppliers, 7 per cent distributors, and 3 per cent advisors.

  • The top industries served by most robotics suppliers (besides the robotics industry itself) include metal & machinery (47 per cent of suppliers), logistics (42 per cent of suppliers), and food & beverage (30 per cent of suppliers).

  • Other non-manufacturing industries with a particularly strong focus in Australia include mining (29 per cent of robotics suppliers), energy (24 per cent of suppliers), construction (20 per cent of suppliers), agriculture & forestry (19 per cent of suppliers), and recycling (17 per cent of suppliers).

The full report contains insights about the market for robotics and automation in Australia, statistics on robotics companies, and a complete data sheet containing every supplier identified in the research. The report is available at HowToRobot.com.
 

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