Strong comeback of the robotics industry

  • March 23, 2011
  • News

March 23, 2011 - The IFR Statistical Department says in 2010, with more than 115,000 industrial robots shipped, the number of units sold worldwide almost doubled – with 2009 being lowest year since the early 90’s. “The prospects for 2011 and beyond are promising,” commented Åke Lindqvist, IFR President. “The robotics industry benefits from the increasing demand for automation especially in the Asian growing markets with China on top.” In 2011 a further increase of robot sales between 10% and 15% is expected. A new peak level of about 130,000 sold units could be reached. Between 2012 and 2014 a moderate annual growth in average of 5% is more likely. The possible impact of the recent tsunami in Japan on the worldwide supply chain has not been taken into consideration in preparing the forecasts. “The whole world is concerned about the terrible catastrophe in Japan and the consequences which are still not fully apparent. On behalf of the IFR community, I would like to express my deepest sympathy to our Japanese colleagues. In these days our thoughts are with all the people in Japan. We wish the situation would improve and the country would recover from this disaster soon”, stated Åke Lindqvist. 2010 – the year of the comeback Various regions experienced different rates of recovery in robot sales. Asia was on top with an increase of 127% to about 67,000 units, the second highest level ever recorded. About 17,000 units were shipped to Americas, 87% more than in 2009, reaching almost the level of 2008. About 30,000 units were sold in Europe, 45% more than in 2009. This is still about 15% lower than the peak levels of 2007 and 2008. The most dynamic markets were China, the Republic of Korea and the ASEAN countries. Sales to these markets almost tripled. In 2010, the Republic of Korea was on top with almost 23,000 robots sold. Japan recovered with a lower growth rate of 66% to about 21,000 units. This is followed by North America which recovered by 90% to about 16,000 units and China with almost 15,000 units sold (+170%). Germany ranked 4th with about 13,400 units sold (+57%). The electronics industry, the automotive industry and the metal industry were the main drivers of the high increase of robot sales in 2010. Further growth will mainly come from Asia Asian markets such as China, the Rep. of Korea, ASEAN countries will continue to be the driver of the increase in robot sales. “Automotive industry will drive the Automation level in China, other industries like plastics, food, electronics are following.” forecasted Dr. Andreas Bauer, KUKA Roboter and Chairman of the IFR Industrial Robot Suppliers Group. Robot sales to India are still at a low rate, but increasing. It is a promising market with great demand for industrial robots in a wide range of industries. Further growth of robot installations in Americas and Europe The recovery of robot installations will continue also in Europe and in the Americas. The automotive industry is continuing to implement new technologies and use new materials which will require new manufacturing lines. The application of robots in other industries i.e. the food and beverage industry and the pharmaceutical industry will further increase. The growing demand in alternative energy sources after the recent nuclear catastrophe in Japan will also push robot installations, e.g. the production of solar cells etc. Improvements in safety, flexibility, accuracy and ease of use of robots will facilitate access to new markets. Robots will penetrate areas with a still low rate of automation. Small companies will start using robots in order to stay competitive. More detailed information on the final results of robot sales in 2010 by country, by application and by industry, analyses on robot density, detailed forecasts, special features on robotics and case studies on innovative applications of industrial robots will be published in World Robotics 2011 Industrial Robots in summer 2011.

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