The International Federation of Robots (IFR) released its “World Robotics 2020 Industrial Robots” report for 2020, showing that 2.7 million robots work in factories around the world.
While this number is down from 2018 by 12%, 2019 saw 373,000 units shipped globally—a record third-highest volume recorded.
“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,” says Milton Guerry, President of the IFR. “In addition to that, the consequences from the coronavirus pandemic for the global economy cannot be fully assessed yet. The remaining months of 2020 will be shaped by adaption to the ‘new normal.'”
The Asian market ranks number one for industrial robot adoption, with China rising by 21%, India growing 15%, and Japan increasing by 12%. New installations in Asia accounted for two-thirds of the global supply.
Europe rose 7%, hosting approximately 580,000 robots with Germany leading the charge. Sales in France, Italy, and the Netherlands increased by 8% – 15%.
The United States remains the largest user of industrial robots in the Americas with approximately 293,200 units, a growth of 7% over 2018. Mexico is second, followed by Canada. Most of the robots installed in the U.S. were imported from Japan and Europe.
The report shows an increase of “cobot” installations (up 11%) as human-robot collaboration continues to grow. The IFR expects this number to increase as the range of cobot applications booms. While COVID-19 has affected the market, it has also inspired digital transformation and modernization in many companies with the impetus being rapid production, delivery of custom products, competitive pricing.