The EU is currently frontrunner in the world’s robotic race but by 2019 China will have taken over.
According to the latest forecast from the International Federation of Robots, more than 1.4m new industrial robots will be installed in factories around the world by 2019.
Currently 65% of the most robotised countries – those with an above-average number of industrial robots per 10,000 employees - are located in the EU.
By 2019 there will be around 2.6m industrial robots. Around 70% are currently employed in the automotive, electrical and electronics and metal and machinery industry sectors.
Strongest growth was recorded in the electronics industry, which saw an increase of 18% in the number of industrial robots used in 2015.
There was an increase in robot use of 16% in the metals industry and a 10% increase in the automotive industry.
Within Europe strongest growth in the purchasing of robotics is taking place in Central and Eastern Europe, which saw a rise in sales of around 25% in 2015. Czech Republic and Poland saw the biggest growth worldwide, with the number of new installations rising by 40% and 26% respectively.
Of the EU’s most developed economies, the UK lags significantly behind Germany with 71 units per 10,000 employees compared to 301 units.
Worldwide growth in the robotics industry will be around 14% a year up to 2019.
China’s national 10-year plan – entitled Made in China 2025 – is hoping to transform the country into one of the top technological nations within a few years. Beijing aims to have 150 robotic units per 10,000 employees by 2020, which will require the installation of around 600,000 to 650,000 new industrial robots.
Yet China is already a leading purchaser of industrial robots. Of the 254,000 units sold in 2015, China accounted for 68,600, exceeding the volume of sales for all European markets combined.
South Korea and Japan were the second and third largest sales markets for industrial robots, seeing growth of 55% in South Korea and 20% in Japan.
The USA is the industry’s fourth largest single market and within the NAFTA area of USA, Canada and Mexico, the number of newly installed industrial robots rose by 17% to 36,000 units (2015).
Demand in Canada increased by 49% while in Mexico it grew by 119%.
In terms of the level of automation in the car industry, South Korea is the leader, followed by Japan and the US.
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