According to a study on robotization in Catalan SMEs, they lead to a higher sales volume, with robotized companies showing a 59.8% increase over non-robotized companies, not to mention a 71.6 increase in exports. Furthermore, they also lead to greater productivity and generate 53.1% higher employment.
An ecosystem backed up by leading market players
Given these figures, it’s no surprise that the main robot manufacturers – ABB, FANUC, KUKA, Mitsubishi Electric, Staubli, Universal Robots, and Yaskawa – all have head offices in Catalonia and play an active part in dynamizing the sector while keeping it connected globally.
An SME-dominated industry
Looking at the robotics sector in Catalonia in more detail we can see that there are 147 robotics companies, 17.69% of which are start-ups. Robotics is behind 1,910 jobs in Catalonia as well as a direct annual turnover of 460.67 million euros, with 43.86% of sector companies showing an annual turnover of over one million euros.
Virtually 90% of the Catalan robotics ecosystem is formed by SMEs and some 43% of companies are less than ten years old. Furthermore, 36.05% of companies in the ecosystem are exporters and 9.52% have branches abroad. Regarding ecosystem segmentation, we find that integrators make up 33.33%, auxiliary industries 28.57%, educational robotics count for 22.45%, and 15.64% are involved in manufacturing.
Educating for the future
Fueling this dynamic industry is a complete vocational and university educational network. 36 professional training centers throughout Catalonia offer a degree in Industrial Automation and Robotics and different universities in Barcelona, Girona and Vic offer a wide range of specific robotic degrees while also including the subject as part of other degrees.
4 universities offer specialization on a Masters’ level with the University of Girona offering a Joint MSc in Vision and Robotics, together with the Heriot Watt university in Scotland and the University of Burgundy in France.
A dynamic research ecosystem
What’s more, a large number of Catalan technology centers include robotics as part of their areas of interest ensuring that research constantly pushes the sector’s limits. These include more generally focused tech centers such as Eurecat and Lietat, to universities such as La Salle, the University of Barcelona with its CEMIC center and the Catalan Polytechnical University with CITCEA.
Other more specialized centers are the IIIA, focused on Artificial Intelligence, and the University of Girona’s ViCOROB research group dedicated to computer vision and robotics, as is the CVC center on the UAB’s campus.