Nowhere is the robot density as high as in Europe. Read here which industries are responsible for this and whether China will be able to implement its ambitious automation strategy.
By 2022, around 4 million industrial robots will be in use around the world. This is the prognosis of the International Federation of Robotics (IFR), the world industry association, in its current World Robot Report 2019. The global race for automation in the manufacturing industry is in full swing. 422,000 units were delivered worldwide last year alone, 6% more than in 2018. This trend is set to continue despite the trade dispute between the USA and China and despite the slowdown in the global economy. In 2022, the IFR expects 584,000 units to be sold.
Most recently, the robot manufacturers sold products worth 16.5 billion US dollars. And in the process, records tumbled: Never before have more than 400,000 robot units been sold per year and never before has so much money been made. And that "although the main customers for robots - the automotive and electronics / electrical engineering industries - had a difficult year," summarizes IFR President Junji Tsuda. The top 5 markets for robot manufacturers account for 74% of industrial robot sales and installed robots to the following extent in 2018:
China (39,351 units).
Japan (17,346 units).
Germany (15,673 units).
United States (15,246 units).
South Korea (11,034).
Robot market Germany and the EU
In Germany there are 338 industrial robots for every 10,000 employees, which means third place worldwide. Accordingly, the number of robots sold has recently increased to 27,000 units - an increase of 26% compared to the previous year. Only South Korea (831) and Singapore (774) use more robots. Behind the German companies follow Japan, Sweden, Denmark, Taiwan and the USA. Contrary to what might be expected, the European Union is clearly at the top of the list of regions. With an average of 114 robots per 10,000 employees, it is well above the global average of 99.
The high density of robots is mainly due to the automation in the large sectors, above all the automotive industry. It orders almost a third of all industrial robots worldwide. So far, your suppliers have not followed this trend as quickly, but automation is finding its way there too. According to the IFR, this will only increase, "because robots are becoming smaller, more flexible, easier to program and cheaper".
In addition to the automotive industry, it is above all mechanical engineering and the metal industry in Europe that ensure a high demand for industrial robots. Last year, companies in these sectors alone installed 43,500 robots in their workshops.
China's grand plan for industrial robots.
The leading sales market for industrial robots is China, where 154,000 units were sold last year. That alone accounts for 36% of global purchases. China thus purchases more robots than Europe and America put together. The level was maintained compared to the previous year, although the investment amount increased. Chinese companies invested around US$5.4 billion in their new industrial robots in 2018 up 21% year-on-year.
Incidentally, the majority of industrial robots are imported or distributed by foreign companies producing in the country. While the domestic market share of Chinese robot manufacturers has increased, it is still a weak 27%. But it won't stay that way. Because China has big plans.
In the national ten-year plan "Made-in-China-2025", Beijing envisages a robot density of 150 units by 2020. The goal should be considered achieved, after all, China currently has 140 robots for every 10,000 employees in industrial use. And the growth is rapid: in the 2017/18 annual comparison alone, the People's Republic increased the number of robots from 97 to 140 units. In order to meet the goals it has set itself, China now has to step up production of its own industrial robots. The self-imposed goal here is 100,000 units in 2020, the country is currently at less than half.