Collaborative robots and 3D printing will spearhead a new ‘industrial revolution’ driven by society-demanding mass customisation, according to property adviser Colliers.

3D printing, along with collaborative robots, are predicted to spearhead a new industrial revolution

The Colliers white paper argues today’s consumer society can be defined as the era of product customisation, where personalised goods are becoming commonplace.

Some 62% of manufacturers questioned in the study revealed they offered some degree of product customisation, while 46% said they offered customers the opportunity to add personal elements to the product.

Guy Douetil, managing director of EMEA corporate solutions at Colliers, said: “Consumer demand for speedy delivery of customised products, coupled with the rising labour costs in markets typically associated with mass production, has the potential to alter the global balance of power as businesses increasingly bring their production facilities closer to their customers in growing domestic markets.

“This move towards decentralised production could lead to emerging economies, such as China, losing the status ‘factory of the world’.”

Colliers explains emerging economies will lose their ‘factory of the world’ status as they start producing more for themselves and their growing domestic markets and less for the rest of the world.

It is predicted the aging population, resulting in fewer people of working age, and the falling price of robots will accelerate the adoption of robots in factories.

Robot installations are expected to increase by 6% on average per year between 2014 and 2016.