Industrial robot sales increase worldwide by 29 percent

Initial findings of the World Robotics Report 2018, published by the International Federation of Robotics (IFR), show global sales of industrial robots reached the new record of 380,550 units in 2017.

That is an increase of 29 percent compared to the previous year. China saw the largest growth in demand for industrial robots, up 58 percent. Sales in the USA increased by 6 percent and in Germany by 8 percent compared to the previous year.

Broken down by industry, the automotive industry continues to lead global demand for industrial robots: In 2017, around 125,200 units were sold in this segment – equivalent to growth of 21 percent. The strongest growth sectors in 2017 were the metal industry (+54 percent), the electrical/electronics industry (+27 percent) and the food industry (+19 percent).

In the course of digitalisation, real production is becoming increasingly connected with the virtual data world, opening up completely new possibilities for analysis – right through to machine learning. Robots will acquire new skills through learning processes. At the same time, the industry is working to simplify the handling of robots. In the future industrial robots should be easier and faster to program using intuitive procedures. Such a technology is not only attractive to established users, but also to small and medium-sized companies, for example, companies who can use it to introduce automation without the need for highly experienced or expert personnel. This development also paves the way for the third major robotics trend: collaboration between humans and robots without protective barriers offers new approaches to new flexible production processes. In the future human-robot collaboration will support the flexible production of small quantities with high complexity.