IFR Report 2018: Global Industrial Robot Sales Doubled Over The Past 5 yrs

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The IFR outlook shows that in 2021 the annual number of robots supplied to factories around the world will reach about 630,000 units

The annual sales volume of industrial robots increased by 114% over the last five years (2013-2017), according to the International Federation of Robotics (IFR).

The new World Robotics Report shows that a new record high of 381,000 units were shipped globally in 2017 – an increase of 30 percent compared to the previous year.

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The sales value increased by 21% compared to 2016 to a new peak of US$16.2 billion in 2017.

“Industrial robots are a crucial part of the progress of manufacturing industry. The IFR outlook shows that in 2021 the annual number of robots supplied to factories around the world will reach about 630,000 units,” says Junji Tsuda, President, International Federation of Robotics.

Top five markets in the world

China, Japan, South Korea, the United States and Germany are five major markets representing 73% of the total sales volume in 2017.

China has significantly expanded its leading position with the strongest demand and a market share of 36% of the total supply in 2017. With sales of about 138,000 industrial robots (2016-2017: +59%), China’s sales volume was higher than the total sales volume of Europe and the Americas combined (112,400 units).

Robot sales in Japan increased by 18% to 45,566 units, representing the second highest value ever witnessed for this country. Japan’s manufacturers delivered 56% of the global supply in 2017, making the country  the world’s number one industrial robot manufacturer. The export rate increased by 45% (2016-2017).

In 2017, robot supplies decreased in the Republic of Korea by 4% to 39,732 units. The main driver of this development was the electrical/electronics industry that reduced robot installations by 18% in 2017. The year before, industrial robot installations peaked at 41,373 units.

Robot installations in the United States continued to increase to a new peak in 2017 – for the seventh year in a row – and reached 33,192 units. This is 6% higher than in 2016.

In 2017, the number of robots sold in Germany increased by 7% to 21,404 units – a new all-time record – compared to 2016 (20,074 units).

Robot use by industry worldwide

The automotive industry remains the largest adopter of robots globally with a share of 33 percent of the total supply in 2017 – sales increased by 22 percent.

The electrical/electronics industry has been catching up with the auto industry: Sales increased by 33 percent to a new peak of 121,300 units – accounting for a share of 32 percent of the total supply in 2017.

The metal industry (including industrial machinery, metal products and basic metals industries) is on an upswing. Share of total supply reached 10 percent with an exceptional sales growth of 55 percent in 2017.

Analysts predict an overall growth in demand in 2018 for metals, with ongoing high demand for the cobalt and lithium used in electric car batteries.

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