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eastern europe turns to automation to reduce effects of intense labor shortage

in rethinking robotics, trending now by Darius Wilke

Skilled worker interacting with work done by collaborative robot

Like the U.S., Eastern and Central Europe have a very tight labor market – with some areas experiencing a 2 percent or less unemployment rate. And like their counterparts in the U.S., European manufacturers also struggle to meet surging demand for products.

According to an Ipsos survey of 100 Czech Republic companies, nearly one-third turned down orders in 2017 because of the labor shortage. (Source)

To meet demand, manufacturers are turning to automation. Although manufacturers have used traditional automation systems for five or ten years, more are now expanding, looking for new ways to automate routine tasks in order to free up their skilled workers.

Collaborative robots automating routine tasks

Companies such as Linet, which makes state-of-the-art hospital beds, are installing collaborative manufacturing robots and then moving employees from routine line jobs to the more complex custom work the robots can’t do.

Dinax, which sells water treatment products to Hungarian wellness hotels and swimming pool companies, recently invested in programmable weight controllers and pumps. The automated system enables Dinax to fill 50 percent more of its product into plastic containers – and frees up two people each day to focus on other tasks. (Source)

Highly skilled workers are also needed for machine programming and research and development.

The combined effects of the labor shortage and investment in automation resulted in the Czech Republic’s GDP surge of 5 percent over the last 12-month period, according to Bloomberg, which noted investment spending added 1.6 points.

Data from the Frankfurt-based International Federation of Robots (IFR) estimates that 9,900 robots were installed in Central and Eastern Europe in 2017 – up 28 percent from the previous year. The IFR is estimating 21 percent compound annual growth to the region – almost double the European average. (Source)

Several Sawyer collaborative robots at MS Schamberg, in Germany.

Due to easy availability of cash grants and tax incentives, Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania and Turkey are expected to become major hubs for manufacturing innovation. According to a Forbes piece, Poland remains the largest and strongest growing economy in the region.

Rethink Robotics is exhibiting at Germany’s Hannover Messe tradeshow April 23 – 27, 2018. Visit our booth to see how a team of Sawyer collaborative robots can help your company improve productivity, meet customers’ demands for product, and help your company expand – even in a tight labor market. We’re in Hall 17, Stand C14. Use this handy link to set up an appointment for a demonstration.

(2 comments)


About the Author

Darius Wilke

Darius Wilke, Director European Business, leitet seit August 2016 das Europageschäft von Rethink Robotics und verantwortet die Expansionspläne und deren Umsetzung im europäischen Markt. In diesem Zeitraum entwickelte er Europa zu der am schnellsten wachsenden Region des Cobot-Lösungsanbieters. Dank seiner umfangreichen Managementerfahrung ist er sowohl mit der strategischen Planung als auch der praktischen Umsetzung verschiedenster Geschäftsvorhaben vertraut.


2 comments on this article

Raza April 26, 2018 at 9:26 am

It’s really nice idea but beside of automation and robotics deployment we need to create new areas for human deployment as well. We need to set a parentage for human and robots in any organization for equal opportunities.

LEDRossendale April 27, 2018 at 3:27 pm

Interesting to see an opposite scenario to the one you usually hear with regards to factory automation – this time automation is filling gaps rather than causing job losses.


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