The global industrial robot market reached record sales of $ 16.5 billion in 2018, according to the International Robotics World Federation Report. According to IFR, 422,000 industrial robots were shipped worldwide in 2018, up 6% from the previous record of 381,000 industrial robots in 2017.
However, the International Robotics Federation (IFR) expects shipments to decline by 2019, before returning 12% every year between 2020 and 2022.
“We are seeing dynamic growth in 2018 with new record sales, even when the main buyers of robots – the automotive and electronics industries – are having a difficult year,” said IFR President. “Trade disputes between the US and China create uncertainty for the global economy – customers tend to delay investment.”
“But interestingly, the 400,000 makings of robot installations per year was approved for the first time.” “The long-term prospects of IFR indicate that a continuing trend towards automation and continuous technical improvement will lead to double-digit growth – with an estimated 584,000 units by 2022.”
“Apart from the huge media interest in cobots, the number of units installed, only 3.24% is still very low,” IFR noted. “By 2018, cobots had fewer than 14,000 of the more than 422,000 industrial robots installed, compared to around 11,100 cobots the previous year, and from 2017 to 2018, annual cobot installations increased by 23%.
5 countries using industrial robots in 2018
The chart above shows the top 15 industrial robotics markets in 2018 worldwide. China remains a clear leader, with industrial robots as much as three times more than Japan in second place.
The Big 5 sequence is very similar in 2017, except for places where the US and Republic of Korea have changed. Let’s outline the five main industrial robot markets for 2018, which constitutes 74% of global installations
- China – 154,000 industrial robots
China accounts for around 154,000 units, accounting for 36% of the total industrial robot. This is a 1% decline from 2017, but it is still more than the combined Americans and Europeans. Installation costs increased 21% to $ 5.4 billion from 2017.
In the current economic climate, observe how China deals with different robot suppliers. Chinese installations for different robot suppliers, including units produced by non-Chinese suppliers in China, decreased from around 122,000 units in 2017 by 7% to 113,000 units last year. Chinese industrial robot factory installations in 2018 increase to 5% to 27%. These results are consistent with Chinese policies in promoting local manufacturers.
- Japan – 55,000 industrial robots
Although their number will increase by 21% in 2018, Japan is still ranked second with 55,000 industrial robots. This is the highest number in the country. Japan is the world’s first industrial robot manufacturer, delivering 52% of global shipments by 2018.
- US – 40,300 industrial robots
Robot installations in the US have increased for eight years in a row. 40,300 industrial robots, an increase of 22% from 2017, catapulted the US to third place and scored one place for South Korea.
According to IFR, the growth driver in all industries in the US since 2010 has been a continuing trend to automate production to strengthen the US industry both domestically and globally.
- Korea Republic – 38,000 industrial robots
South Korea lost one place in 2018 because the number of installations fell by 5% to around 38,000. IFR attributed the decline to “a difficult year” for the electronics industry. The use of industrial robots in Korea has increased by an average of 12% every year since 2013
- Germany – 27,000 industrial robots
In 2018, the number of units sold in Germany increased by 26% to nearly 27,000 units – a record. The automotive industry mainly powers these factories.
According to IFR, 79% of automotive robots are installed in these five markets:
- China – 39,351
- Japan – 17,346
- Germany – 15,673
- US – 15,246
- South Korea – 11,034
The electronics industry seems to have progressed after 2017 to surpass the automotive industry as the top market. However, global demand for equipment and electronic components declined significantly in 2018, which caused a 14% decline in global industrial robotics sales from around 122,000 units in 2017 to 105,000 units in 2018. According to IFR, the electronics industry is to be hardest hit by the trade crisis between the US and China.
The metalworking industry is the third-largest consumer in 2018, accounting for 10% of aggregate demand in 2018. The number of installations increased in 2018 to around 43,500. Both metal manufacturers (not including auto parts) and industrial machinery manufacturers have purchased a large number of robots in recent years.