Based on orders already on the books, robot manufacturer Sepro Robotique (La Roche sur Yon, France) says it expects to reach €78.8 million ($95.83 million) in sales in 2014, 18.5% over 2013 turnover, which was the previous record year. Unit sales are expected to be about 2,100 injection molding machines equipped for the first time in the company's history.
"2013 was a great year," says CEO Jean-Michel Renaudeau, "and we correctly anticipated that 2014 would be better still. What we did not anticipate was that we would set a new record almost before the start of the 4th quarter. We are also very excited to see that sales are coming not only in our strongest markets, like the United States and Germany, but also in most other parts of the world, including some regions that have been very slow for several years."
|Jean-Michel Renaudeau, CEO of the Sepro Group.|
Elsewhere, the market in Spain and Portugal has been growing only modestly since 2009, but this year sales have increased 200% over 2013. Renaudeau cites a rebound in the automotive industry in the Valencian area of Spain, and the addition of a new distributor in Portugal (Carlos Pereira and Deltaplas Lda.), as key factors in the expansion. This year, the two countries together will account for 14% of Sepro's European sales.
In the United Kingdom, where sales began to decline in 1999 reached a low point in 2009, the market has recovered over the last 5 years. The trend has been steadily upward, with sales more than doubling since mid-2011. Sepro says it sold well over 60 robots in the UK in 2014.
Emerging markets like Brazil, China and Eastern Europe are also trending upward.
New products introduced in the last three years also are contributing to Sepro's growth. While 3-axis Cartesian robots - including the Success Range of general purpose robots, together with the high-performance 3-axis S5 Line robots - still account for 66% of sales, the more advanced 5X Line 5-axis Cartesian robots has become the fastest growing segment by far. Customers say this is because the servo wrist gives them accuracy and flexibility to handle technically demanding parts, with lower tooling costs, less maintenance, cleaner operation and faster mold changes. Other new product lines, including 6X Visual 6-axis articulated arm robots, Multi Inject robots for dual-material applications, Dual Arm robots and S3 servo-driven sprue pickers, are also contributing significantly to Sepro's business in 2014.
This rapid pace of innovation will continue in 2015, says Renaudeau. The company will introduce two new robot families at NPE2015.