The new World Robotics 2020 Industrial Robots report by International Federation of Robotics (IFR) shows a record of 2.7 million industrial robots operating in factories around the world – an increase of 12%. Sales of new robots remain on a high level with 373,000 units shipped globally in 2019. This is 12% less compared to 2018, but still the 3rd highest sales volume ever recorded. Milton Guerry, President, International Federation of Robotics, spoke about the two reports they have to present – industrial robots & service robots. He further went on to mention, “AI & Machine Learning technologies enable robots to sense & respond to their environment. Robots are increasingly supporting humans both at work and in their private lives.” Diving into world robotics industrial robots, Guerry elucidated, “2019 was marked by trade tensions & global economic downturn. Yet, the robotics market was able to reach a record high of 2.7 million units operating in factories around the world.”
Speaking on the countries using industrial robots, Dr Christopher Müller, Director – Statistical Dpt, International Federation of Robotics, Germany, asserted, “Geographically, we have three main markets – Asia/Australia, Europe & the Americas. China remains the main end-user of industrial robots. The second is Japan, which has a long history of industrial robotics as a country. India is on a rather low level if we compare it by the country size in terms of the number of people living there; it is similar to China but has only a small fraction of robot installations compared to it. This shows us how much potential this country still has.”
Talking about technology & application trends in service robots, Dr Werner Kraus, Vice Chair, IFR Service Robot Group & Head of Dpt – Robot and Assistive Systems, Fraunhofer IPA, Germany, cited, “The major technology accelerators will be cloud technologies and 5G (for example, remote procedures using surgical robots and 5G in China); business models, like Robot-as-a-Service lower the entrance level – especially in new markets; and standardisation & ‘platformisation’, for example, for peripherals (app store) and sales platform.” He also added that when we are looking into the top three applications in terms of numbers, logistics robots are the most important applications.