Robot adoption key to raising UK productivity levels

By Andrew Yates, Managing Director, Endoline Robotics

UK manufacturers must tip the balance in favour of automation to avoid falling even further behind international competition.

As the only G7 country with a robot density below the world’s average, the UK has just 91 units per 10,000 employees. According to a recent report*, not only is the UK using fewer robots, but the country is lagging behind in the productivity stakes, and is currently ranked as the 20th most productive country in the world.

The UK led the First Industrial Revolution by embracing new technologies and the opportunities these created. However, unless British manufacturers significantly increases its adoption of robotics and automation, and take full advantage of the technology available, foreign productivity will increase and the UK will be left trailing behind in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Earlier this month, the Chancellor announced a super-deduction tax allowance on plant and machinery to give the sector the boost it needs. From April 2021 until March 2023, any business investing in plant and machinery can take advantage of the 130% tax break which will provide 25p off company tax bills for every £1 spent on qualifying machinery.

Manufacturers now need to exploit this and realise the benefits robotic integration can yield.

Demand for robotics within the UK has undoubtedly increased. In fact, in 2019, capitalising on its 40 years of success in automating global food manufacturing facilities, Endoline Automation launched a sister company – Endoline Robotics. However, since delving into the world of robotics with strategic partner FANUC UK, the company recognises that UK manufacturers still need further education on the paybacks of robotic systems.

While most do understand the efficiencies gained from automation, the belief that it is expensive is still a barrier, particularly for SME’s and manufacturers on short term retailer contracts. However, when you consider that, as a country, we are around 30% less productive per hour than a German manufacturer, then the financial impact of not automating is clearly far greater.

Today, robotic systems can not only boost productivity and efficiency, they are tangible assets which can be moved or easily re-programmed to meet changing demands. Robotic palletising systems in particular, as they are outside high-care areas, are extremely flexible and can take the strain of monotonous and repetitive tasks off human workers, freeing up their time to complete more value-added tasks.

For many, return on investment (ROI) can be a deal breaker. When looking to achieve ROI inside a year, manufacturers shouldn’t be swayed by price alone. A well-engineered solution will provide low cost of ownership for many years at a fraction of the cost of manual labour.

Therefore the risk we face is not robots taking over the UK workplace, but the risk that, unless UK manufacturers begin embracing the benefits of automation, other countries will continue to seize the initiative and take advantage of new technologies, not least the growth and jobs they bring, while the Britain continues to trail behind.

* Balloon One

Government announces super deduction tax on machinery

From April 2021 until March 2023, businesses investing in plant and machinery will qualify for a 130% capital allowance deduction. This tax break will provide 25p off company tax bills for every £1 spent on qualifying plant and machinery.

This measure – which is expected to boost UK investment by £20 billion a year – includes a super-deduction of 130% on most new plant and machinery investments, which would have ordinarily qualified for 18% relief, and a first year allowance of 50% on most new plant and machinery investments which would have ordinarily qualified for 6% relief.

The ‘super-deduction’ which was announced by the Chancellor in the recent budget, is intended to spur business investment, aid post pandemic economic recovery and give the UK’s productivity levels a boost.

With no upper spending cap, any UK manufacturer looking to invest in machinery to increase the efficiency of their facility, and speed of their production lines should look to bring forward any spending plans.

While not applicable to second-hand assets the super-deduction tax is, according to tax experts, likely to benefit all businesses that are increasing their spend on capital equipment.

The move is set to boost the UK’s slow pace in moving to automation and robotics.

Over several years the fact that the UK has lagged behind G7 counterparts in the adoption of automation has allowed other countries to steal a march in leading the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and seize upon the opportunities for economic growth and jobs.

Automation has always been an enabler to streamline and enhance efficiency and manufacturers should now be able to clearly identify which areas would benefit and take advantage of the 130% tax break.

For further information on Endoline Robotics’ palletising solutions visit or call us on +44 (0) 1767 310581.

Endoline Robotics launches new, flexible ‘Plug & Play’ palletising robot series

Endoline Robotics has launched a new series of upgradeable ‘Plug & Play’ robotic palletisers, offering manufacturers greater flexibility.

With huge advantages over stationary systems, the transportable 1000 series of robotic palletising solutions, featuring a FANUC robotic arm, can be easily moved and incorporated into different production lines within a manufacturing facility as and when demand dictates.

With three separate systems under the range, all with upgradeable options, Endoline Robotics’ 1000 series is designed to grow with a company, making it a system for life.

The first in the series, the semi-automatic 1001 system, receives product from a single infeed and palletises on a pallet stationed on the floor. Once the operation is complete, the system signals the operator to remove the full pallet and add a new one to be palletised. While mirroring the process of the 1001, the 1002 palletiser is also semi-automatic, but begins palletising a second pallet when the first is filled, enabling operators to replace the filled pallet with an empty one for continuous operation.

Completing the range is the fully automatic, 1003 system. Products arrive at the palletising position from an infeed conveyor and the robotic arm palletisers according to pre-defined patterns. When the process is complete, the system discharges the loaded pallet onto a conveyor outside the cell.

Each system within the range is designed to handle various pre-defined products with quick changeovers. At speeds of 12 cycles per minute, the FANUC robotic arm provides precise product handling of carton boxes, display boxes, trays, multipacks, bags and totes.

Ideal for manufacturers who previously rejected palletising automation due to concerns around flexibility, the 1000 series can dramatically increase palletising speed and efficiency, offering an ROI in under 30 months. Industry 4.0 ready, each system can also monitor key performance indicators and manufacturers can extract performance data.

“The launch of the 1000 series of palletising robots strengthens our strategic partnership with FANUC,” comments Andrew Yates, Managing Director of Endoline Robotics. “Our customers are increasingly requiring robotic systems; however they also seek flexible solutions which won’t be left redundant if their businesses change. The 1000 series of palletising robots offers a complete solution.”

While flexible and with upgradeable options, the compact nature of the 1000 series makes it ideal for sites with limited space. It can also be easily moved by forklift and quickly installed and commissioned onto different lines as and when demand dictates.

Endoline Robotics’ 1000 series is designed to grow with a company, making it a system for life


At speeds of 12 cycles per minute, the FANUC robotic arm provides precise product handling of carton boxes, display boxes, trays, multipacks, bags and totes