New opportunities for Danish robotics industry when the Corona crisis subsides

By Carsten Steno & Malene Grouleff

The companies in the Danish robotic cluster are currently affected by the corona crisis, but as the crisis subside  there will be an even greater need for the solutions offered by the danish companies to the world.
This is the opinion of the chairman of Robotics Alliance, the network of Danish robotic companies, Tom Togsverd.
He tells Robot Books that the corona crisis has shown how companies will need to strengthen supply chain control in the future and avoid the effects of the contagion chains that spread with Covid 19.
This means that companies will increase the automation of their production, especially in China.
At the same time, more production will be put back to countries of origin such as Denmark, where labor costs are high, and where automation, therefore, pays off
The crisis has also shown that there is a need to change production faster than usual and it becomes easier the more automated production is.
Danish robots proved useful in a crisis

Already during the Corona crisis, service robots, which are also developed and produced in Denmark, have proved useful.
Disinfection robot UVD for example has been in high demand since the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic. Chinese hospitals have ordered more than 2,000 UVD robots by Danish manufacturer Blue Ocean Robotics. They started to destroy viruses in Wuhan, where the global pandemic began.
To fulfill this need, it is of course necessary that the Danish robotics companies continue to produce under the conditions that apply in the Corona crisis. In this respect we hear some good news from the Danish integrator ProInvent.  In March ProInvent reached a turnover of DKK 7 million and we registered 9405 working hours! Only about 130 hours (1,4%) are lost due to the corona crisis. It gives a productivity of 98.6% and must be a record in this corona-time.  ProInvent looks into a project portfolio this year for DKK 110 million - at the present time the order book already shows DKK 60 million.

Important to open up societies

In China, where Covid 19 startet, people are now opening up the country. This gives expectations of stronger sales of Danish products. But things are not going as fast as Danish robotics companies could wish,

Unfortunately, there is no development in sales. We simply lack the flow of orders, ”says Mobile Industrial Robots CEO Thomas Visti. MiR had 12-13 per cent last year of its global sales in China, but in the first quarter of the year that figure has been reduced to just fewer than 2 per cent.

His best hope at the moment is that the Chinese state is pushing for the purchase of industrial robots. Because it is an area the Chinese are investing heavily in, and they buy approx. a third of all the world's robots.
One of the other big players in the Danish robotics industry, Enrico Krog Iversen from On Robot, is confident that his company will do well during the crisis
But he appeals to Danish society to be reopened with a more aggressive test strategy to isolate infected people. Otherwise, he fears that too many companies will be affected by lack of liquidity to the detriment of Danish society