The use of industrial robots in factories around the world is accelerating at a rapid pace: 126 robots per 10,000 employees is the new global average for robot density in manufacturing industries, nearly double from five years ago years (2015: 66 units). This is according to the Global Robot Report 2021.
By region, the average robot density in Asia/Australia is 134 units, in Europe 123 units and in America 111 units. The 5 most automated countries in the world are: South Korea, Singapore, Japan, Germany and Sweden.
“Robot density is the barometer for tracking the degree of adoption of automation in manufacturing across the world,” says Milton Guerry, president of the International Federation of Robotics.
The development of robot density in China is the most dynamic in the world: Due to the significant growth of robot installations, the density rate has increased from 49 units in 2015 to 246 units in 2020. Today, the density China’s robot industry ranks 9th in the world compared to 25th just five years ago.
Asia is also home to the country with the world’s highest density of robots in manufacturing: the Republic of Korea has held this position since 2010. The country’s robot density exceeds the global average by sevenfold (932 units per 10 000 workers). Robot density has increased by an average of 10% every year since 2015. With its globally recognized electronics industry and a distinct automotive industry, Korea’s economy relies on the two largest areas of industrial robots.
Singapore ranks second with a rate of 605 robots per 10,000 employees in 2020. Robot density in Singapore had increased by 27% on average every year since 2015.
Japan ranks third in the world: in 2020, 390 robots were installed for every 10,000 employees in the manufacturing industry. Japan is the world’s largest manufacturer of industrial robots: the production capacity of Japanese suppliers reached 174,000 units in 2020. Today, Japanese manufacturers supply 45% of the world’s robot supply.
The density of robots in the United States has increased from 176 units in 2015 to 255 units in 2020. The country ranks seventh in the world – ahead of Chinese Taipei (248 units) and China (246 units). Modernization of domestic production facilities has boosted robot sales in the United States. The use of industrial robots also contributes to achieving decarbonization goals, for example in the cost-effective production of solar panels and in the continued transition to electric vehicles. Several automakers have announced investments to further equip their factories with new models of electric-powered cars or to increase battery production capacity. These large projects will create a demand for industrial robots in the coming years.
The most automated country in Europe is Germany, which ranks 4th in the world with 371 units. Annual supply accounted for 33% of total robot sales in Europe 2020 – 38% of European operational stock is in Germany. The German robotics industry is recovering, mainly driven by strong overseas activities rather than the domestic or European market. Demand for robots in Germany is expected to grow slowly, mainly driven by demand for low-cost robots in general industries and outside of traditional manufacturing.
France has a robot density of 194 units (16th in the world), which is well above the world average of 126 robots and relatively similar compared to other EU countries like Spain (203 units), Austria (205 units) or the Netherlands (209 units). EU members like Sweden (289 units), Denmark (246 units) or Italy (224 units), have a significantly higher degree of automation in the manufacturing segment.
As the only G7 country, the UK has a lower robot density than the global average of 126 units with 101 units, ranking 24th. Five years ago, the robot density in the UK was 71 units. The exodus of foreign labor after Brexit has increased the demand for robots in 2020. This situation is expected to prevail in the near future, the upgrading of UK manufacturing industry will also be boosted by massive tax incentives, the ‘super-deduction’: From April 2021 to March 2023, companies can claim 130% of capital cost allowances as tax relief for investments in plant and machinery.
For more information: www.ifr.org
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