Trend towards automation increases demand for industrial robots

(Nanowerk News) According to Dr. Shinsuke Sakakibara, International Federation of Robotics (IFR) President, 2012 was quite satisfying for the global robot industry and robot sales reached the second highest level ever.
Between 2008 and 2012 robot sales increased by nine percent on average per year
"We are very pleased that in 2012 we have reached the second highest level of robot sales ever recorded in the history of industrial robots. More than 159,000 units were sold, almost on the same level as in 2011." announced Dr. Andreas Bauer, Chairman of the IFR Industrial Robot Suppliers Group. "Between 2008 and 2012 robot sales have increased by 9% on average per year. The demand for industrial robots is increasing due to the accelerating trend towards automation all over the world. We estimate that robot installations will reach a similar level again in 2013. In the last three years investments in robots have been strongly supported by the automotive industry. In other industries, the General Industry sales are increasing."
Electronics industry, cause of the slight sales decrease in 2012
In 2012, mainly the decrease of robot sales to the electrical electronics industry caused the slight decrease. In 2012, sales of industrial robots to the automotive industry still continued to increase worldwide by 6%. The chemical and rubber and plastics industry as well as the food industry increased their robot orders while the metal and machinery industry slightly reduced them.
Seventy percent of total robot supply in 2012 within five countries
About 70% of the total robot sales in 2012 went to Japan, China, United Sates, Korea and Germany. In 2012, robot sales to Japan continued to increase slightly to 28,700 units. The electronics industry reduced robot investments considerably, while the automotive industry continued to increase robot orders by 31%. The sales volume of industrial robots is still far below the peak level of 2005, 44,000 units.
In 2012, China was the second largest robot market in the world following Japan. Although robot sales to China only slightly increased in 2012 to about 23,000 units, it is the most rapidly growing market in the world. Between 2005 and 2012, sales of industrial robots have increased by about 25% on average per year.
In the United States, the continued trend towards automation further increased robot installations to 22,400 units, a new peak level. Especially in the automotive industry increased robot investments. Robot supplies to the Republic of Korea decreased by almost 24% to 19,400 units after strong investments in 2010 and 2011 of the automotive and the electronics industry. Since 2010, the automotive industry was the driver of an almost unlimited growth of robot installations in Germany. In 2012, the automotive industry reduced their investments in industrial robots considerably while the General Industry ordered more than in 2011.
Thailand is becoming more and more an important robot market. In 2012, robot supplies reached more than 4,000 units. After a strong investments in 2011, sales to the Central and Eastern European countries declined. The Brazilian market continued to grow while the robot sales to India stagnated.
More easy-to-use robots for the General Industry
The trend towards automation is continuing due to the increasing industrialization of huge growing consumer markets, the necessary modernizing of existing production facilities and the need to be competitive in a global market. Energy-efficiency and light weight construction are the main challenges of the manufacturing industry. The potential of the use of industrial robots in the General Industry will substantially grow when robots will collaborate with workers and when the integration of the robot will become easier. Especially, the end-customer-friendly- integration of robots in machine tools provide an enormous potential for new robot installations.
Source: International Federation of Robotics