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Brazil Ranks Bottom in Industrial Automation Ranking

08/07/2018 - 07h43

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FILIPE OLIVEIRA
SÃO PAULO

Brazil ranked 39th in a ranking of 44 countries on the usage of industrial automation. The leader is South Korea, with 631 robots per 10,000 workers, followed by Singapore (488) and Germany (309).

This lag threatens the competitiveness of Brazilian companies.

"People fear the job loss that comes with automation. But if we don't become more efficient, we will lose all jobs," said Fernando Madani, head of the automation and industrial engineering department at Instituto Mauá de Tecnologia, in São Paulo.

According to Madani, the challenge for companies that want to embrace robotics is finding specialized labor to service the equipment.

"Robots are no longer expensive. You can buy several with the same amount that a luxury car would cost, around R$ 300,000 (US$ 68,500)."

Robot sellers, such as foreign companies ABB and Kuka and domestic Pollux, say that although automation is still low in the country, the demand is rising.

"During the recession, big investments in automotive production lines [which adopt robots in larger scale] were scarce, but other industries are investing more," said Daniel Diniz, sales and marketing manager at ABB.

Edouard Mekhalian, Kuka's general manager for Brazil, said robot demand is increasing 15% year over year.

A historically closed market, the political and economic instability and a restricted consumer market are the reasons why Brazil has not advanced in the use of industrial robotics.

José Rizzo, Pollux' president, said the development of robotics adoption in the last decade was beneath his expectations. He believed with the technology's falling prices and rise of labor cost, there would be a strong increase beginning in 2014. But the rising unemployment undermined the interest in robots.

Translated by NATASHA MADOV

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