“The robotics industry is looking into a bright future,” stated Dr. Shinsuke Sakakibara, IFR president, on the occasion of the publication of the studyWorld Robotics 2013 – Industrial Robots. “In 2013, global robot sales will increase by about 2% to 162,000 units. The IFR Statistical Department expects that between 2014 and 2016 worldwide robot sales will increase by about 6% on average per year. In 2016, the annual supply of industrial robots will reach more than 190,000 units.”
In 2013, the demand of the automotive industry will start to slow down in certain markets after three years of continued increasing robot installations in the traditional as well as the emerging markets. The electrical/electronics industry will increase robot investments in production automation as well as in retooling for new production processes. A further increase of robot orders from other industries is also expected, particularly from the pharmaceutical industry, the food and beverage industry, and the metal and machinery industry.
Growth of robot sales is expected in North America, Brazil, the Republic of Korea, China, in most of all other South East Asian markets as well as in most of the Central and Eastern European markets, and in Turkey. Robot sales to Japan will decrease due to the continuing weak economic position of its electrical/electronics industry. Also in Germany a decrease in robot sales is likely after the significant robot investments of the automotive industry over the past three years. The United Kingdom is in a similar situation and will also have a reduction in robot installations in 2013. Due to the continuing tight economic situation, robot sales will either decrease or stagnate in Italy, France and Spain. However due to the more complex robot systems entering the market, the increase in turnover might be higher, just as in 2011 and 2012.
Promising Prospects for 2014-2016
The IFR Statistical Department estimates a further growth of robot installations between 2014 and 2016 by 6% on average per year. “The growth is based on huge potentials of further penetration of the industrial segments like electronics or food and on the on-going industrialization of the emerging countries. But there are even additional growth potentials in the future based on breathtaking advanced and innovative technological developments,” commented Dr. Andreas Bauer, chairman of the IFR Industrial Robot Suppliers Group the IFR forecast. “These technologies are opening doors to completely new applications for robots. Impressive for me are the developments regarding human-robot cooperation and opportunities that are provided in new fields for automation, especially in areas where no robots are currently used.”