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World record: 248,000 industrial robots sold in 2015

By Chen Yingqun ( Updated: 2016-06-22 16:58
World record: 248,000 industrial robots sold in 2015

Visitors watch different sized industrial robots by KUKA at the Hanover Messe in Hanover, Germany, April 8, 2013. [Photo/Agencies]

The worldwide sales of industrial robots achieved a new record number of 248,000 units in 2015, a year-on-year rise of 12 percent, says a report from the International Federation of Robotics on Wednesday.

Asia is still the world's strongest growth market. The region saw a 16 percent rise totaling at 156,000 units sold in 2015. With some 68,000 industrial robots sold, China alone surpassed the total market volume of Europe.

Growth in China (17 percent in 2015) saw foreign-based robotic manufacturers profit with a 69 percent share of the total market. At the same time, domestic competitors have, by now, significantly expanded their market share to 31 percent, from the 25 percent in 2013.

The 2016 World Robotics Statistics, issued by the International Federation of Robotics, says that it is the continuation of the global automation boom, which started in the wake of the financial crisis of 2009. The sales figures for industrial robots have increased almost four-fold since 2009, when worldwide sales of industrial robots were only about 60,000 units.

There is no end in sight to this growth trajectory. By 2018, some 2.3 million units will be deployed on factory floors – more than twice as many as in 2009 (1.0 million), the report says.

Within the global markets, the positive sales figures are being driven by highly automated emerging countries, and by regions that are already highly developed economically.

In Europe the total sales figures for industrial robots in 2015 rose by ten percent to 50,000 units compared to the previous year. The strongest individual markets here are the three EU countries, Germany (20,000 units), Italy (6,700 units) and Spain (3,800 units).

Growth in America proved even more dynamic, with sales increasing by 15 percent to a total of 37,000 units.

Broken down into sectors, with the worldwide largest volume it is the automotive industry that holds the lead in automation using industrial robots. During 2015 some 95,000 units were sold in this segment – a rise of one percent. The sectors that posted the strongest growth in 2015 were the metal industry (grow by 63 percent), and the plastics and rubber industry (grow by 40 percent), followed by the electronics industry (grow by 16 percent).

"The wave of digital transformation and automation will continue to drive the robotics boom forward until 2018", says Joe Gemma, President of the International Federation of Robotics. "Revolutionary developments in IT connected with all aspects of the Internet of Things, and new networked services are changing the producing industries fundamentally. Machines, logistics and production plants are merging into integrated cyber-physical systems. The aim is to use smart factories to work more flexibly, more cost-efficiently and more productively."

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