The Cobot Expo 2.0: Cobot Use Worldwide to Show 20-30% Compound Annual Growth

The Cobot Expo 2.0: Cobot Use Worldwide to Show 20-30% Compound Annual Growth
The Cobot Expo 2.0: Cobot Use Worldwide to Show 20-30% Compound Annual Growth

Universal Robots hosted its Cobot Expo 2.0 virtually on Nov. 16-17, 2020, bringing together collaborative robot experts to deliver live product demos and insightful keynotes about cobot ROI, production, upgrades and applications.

During one of the keynotes, Bryan Bird, regional sales director–US/Canada–gave a high-level look at robot installations worldwide, touching on COVID-19’s impact on the collaborative robot industry and discussing the projected growth of cobots. 



Bird joined UR two months ago but has worked with robots most of his career. He said the United States had 228 robots per every 10,000 manufacturing employees in 2019, dwarfing Singapore’s 918 robots per 10,000 and the Republic of Korea’s 855 per 10,000.

“While the US is behind other countries with smaller populations in terms of robot density, we are one of the global leaders in new robot installations,” he said. “In 2019, 33,000 robots were installed in the US, trailing only China and Japan.” 

In 2019, the global total of robots installed experienced a dip after six consecutive years of growth, said Bird. The dip was driven primarily by declines in the automotive and electronics industries, where robot usage tends to be highest.


Factors driving new robot installation rates 

The two chief factors driving the robot installation rate are COVID-19 and the accompanying global labor market constraints, Bird commented. “We can all agree that we are better off when people don’t have to be exposed to jobs that are dull, dangerous, dirty, or difficult—the four D’s that affect workplace safety,” he said. “With the increased use of robotic automation, particularly collaborative robots, we can use human workers to perform more value-added tasks in manufacturing.”

Robots are also helping companies with social distancing. “Many companies are using robots to effectively create space between production associates without wholesale changes to their plant floor layouts,” Bird said. “Cobots can operate for three shifts reliably and consistently either on their own or in cooperation with humans. This provides increased business continuity and a potential productivity boost despite fluctuating labor conditions.”


The future of robotic growth

Some of the top industries wherein customers are applying robots include: material handling, welding, assembling, cleanroom, dispensing and processing.

“While 2020 has certainly been a challenging year for global economies because of COVID, and robot installations may decline as a result, the outlook for future growth remains optimistic,” Bird said. “The expected future growth of collaborative robots is estimated by many industry analysts and experts to grow at a 20-30 percent compound annual growth rate for the foreseeable future.” 

Founded in 2005 by three university students in Denmark, the company says it was the first to deliver commercially viable collaborative robots. Universal Robots has now shipped more than 49,000 cobots around the world. It has more than 100 products currently in development and 40 products in final testing.

About The Author


Melissa Landon is the content editor at Automation.com.


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