The International Federation of Robotics recently stated in its annual report that, thanks to intelligent manufacturing and automation, the number of industrial robots running in factories around the world exceeds 2.7 million, setting a new record. In the five years from 2014 to 2019, the number of global robot installations increased by nearly 85%. However, due to the sluggishness of the two traditional application markets, the automotive and electrical and electronic industries, the annual installation of industrial robots fell by nearly 12% in 2019.
"Also, the consequences of the new crown virus pandemic on the global economy are still not fully predictable." The chairman of the International Federation of Robotics said that robot suppliers are adapting to the market demand brought by new applications and new solutions. In general, the robotics industry cannot stimulate growth from large-scale orders this year. "China, which has experienced economic recovery since the second quarter, maybe an exception. However, it will take several months for the economic recovery to transform into automation projects and robot demand."
According to the report, globally, the top five markets for the annual installation of industrial robots in 2019 are China, Japan, the United States, South Korea, and Germany.
The number of industrial robots in service in the world in the past 10 years, the illustrations in this article are all from the IFR "Global Robot Report 2020"
In the past 10 years, the annual global industrial robot installations in Asia is still the market area with the strongest growth in industrial robots. The report shows that there are 783,000 industrial robots in operation in Chinese factories, an increase of 21% year-on-year. While the stock of robots hit a new record, sales were slowing at high levels. In 2019, the number of new robots installed in the Chinese market was approximately 140,500 (nearly 2.5 times the 2014 statistics). Although it is a 9% reduction compared to 2018, it still sets the third-highest record ever. In Asia, after China’s 783,000 units, Japan ranked second with approximately 355,000 industrial robots in service (an increase of 12%), followed by India, which broke the record with 26,300 units (an increase of 15%). In India, the number of industrial robots in factories has doubled in five years.
It is worth noting that last year, the installation speed of the top two markets in Asia slowed down-China (a decrease of 9%) and Japan (a decrease of 10%).
In 2019, China is far ahead of the top five markets in terms of annual installation volume (unit: 1,000 units). According to the report, 71% of new industrial robots in China come from overseas suppliers. Chinese local manufacturers are mainly oriented to the domestic market and have gained an increasing market share in the country. Foreign suppliers sell about 29% of their products to the automotive industry, while Chinese suppliers only account for about 12%. Therefore, compared with domestic suppliers, foreign suppliers are more affected by the decline in business in China's auto industry. Milton Guerry said that China is currently the world's largest and fastest-growing robotics market. "It has the largest number of robots installed here each year and has the most maneuverable robots. This rapid development is unique in the history of robots."
However, there is still room for improvement in the large-scale application of robots in China's manufacturing industry. From a global perspective, the density of robots (the number of robots per 10,000 workers) in Singapore and South Korea continues to hold the top two positions, reaching 918 and 855 respectively. Japan surpasses Germany and ranks third with 364. The global average robot density is 113, and the density in mainland China is 187.
In 2019, the installation volume of industrial robots in the two major traditional application areas-the automotive and electrical and electronic industries has shrunk. IFR believes that the electronics industry has achieved unexpected growth in the lockdown and isolation caused by the epidemic. Also, it is covered by medical care and personal protection. The new demand for robots stimulated by equipment production has also increased significantly. However, the challenges remain severe: economic recession, investment delays, consumer demand plummeting, and other problems after the epidemic; travel restrictions, supply chain disruptions, and the transformation of the automotive industry and other “non-new crown” issues still exist.