Asia, and China in particular, has once again asserted its dominance on the global industrial robots market, according to a report published by Bloomberg Quint.
The number of robots operating on Chinese factory floors rose 21% last year as the world’s manufacturing powerhouse extended its lead in automation, far outpacing the U.S. by a huge margin.
China added close to 140,500 new robots and currently holds almost one-third of the global stock, as per an International Federation of Robotics (IFR) report.
The U.S. too posted an increase of 33,300 or 7% but remained a distanced fourth with two other Asian economies, Japan and South Korea, clinching second and third spot respectively.
According to the IFR report, 2.7 million industrial robots operate in factories around the world today – an increase of 12% from 2018.
Likewise, the sales of new robots too has remained on a high level with 373,000 units shipped globally in 2019.
“The stock of industrial robots operating in factories around the world today marks the highest level in history,” notes IFR president Milton Guerry.
“Driven by the success story of smart production and automation this is a worldwide increase of about 85% within five years (2014-2019).”
“The recent slowdown in sales by 12% reflects the difficult times the two main customer industries, automotive and electrical/electronics, have experienced.”
“In addition to that, the consequences from the coronavirus pandemic for the global economy cannot be fully assessed yet,” adds Guerry.
“The remaining months of 2020 will be shaped by adaption to the ´new normal’.”
In China, 71% of new robots were shipped in from foreign suppliers; indigenous manufacturers mainly cater to the domestic market, where they gain increasing market shares.
Foreign suppliers delivered some 29% of their units to the automotive industry, while it is only around 12% for Chinese suppliers, reports Bloomberg.
Foreign suppliers were thus affected more by the decline of business in the Chinese automotive industry than the country’s domestic suppliers.
Other findings suggest that India has doubled the number of industrial robots operating in the country – a new record of about 26,300 units being sold – within the past five years.
Only the UK continues to lag in robot usage among all the other major economies: In 2019, only 2,000 units were installed – about one-tenth the number in Germany and one-third that of France.
Image and content: Bloomberg Quint, IFR