2011 the most successful year for industrial robot sales in 50 years
By Casey Nobile
May 30, 2012
IFR President Dr. Shinsuke Sakakibara announced 2011 as the most successful year for industrial robot sales in 50 years at the AUTOMATICA trade fair. Although IFR will release a full market report in August, this industry news bodes well for 2012.
According to IFR Vice President Arturo Baroncelli, 165,000 industrial robots were sold worldwide in 2011. That is a 37% increase over 2010 sales. As robotic automation continues to increase efficiency and drive down production costs, IFR forecasts a more reduced growth rate that will reach another record high in 2012.
Countries driving sales included China, the United States and Germany who exhibited growth rates of between 39% and 51%. Japan and Korea, despite reduced growth rates, still purchased the most industrial robots at 28,000 and 25,500 units respectively. China is expected to surpass all other countries by 2014. In 2011, 14% of the 165,000 robots sold were supplied to the Chinese market. India and Brazil, in particular, experienced accelerated sales as markets embracing automation. Brazil purchased 1,400 or 125% more units in 2011 than 2010.
The trend towards automation in the automotive and metal industries drove growth in most markets. The electronics industry, which tripled robot installations in 2010, increased robot orders again but at a lower rate.
As industrialization increases in growing consumer markets across Asia and South America, IFR anticipates that increased productivity will be required to offset higher costs associated with demographic shifts in many countries. Sustainability and energy-saving measures similarly require new production processes and robots seem to be the key component of green solutions as well.