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There will be just over 150,000 picking robots installed by 2030, according to research from Interact Analysis. The company expects annual shipments will jump from less than 2,000 in 2022, to just above 50,000 by the end of the decade.
In the coming years, Interact Analysis expects the price of labor to continue going up while robotic picking prices decrease. Currently, robotic picking is still prohibitively expensive, especially for one-shift operations. However, by 2030, the average price of picking robots will drop by 40% while the cost of warehouse labor will increase by 30% over the same period.
Interact Analysis also expects robot density to increase as time goes on. Right now, Interact Analysis assumes that for every 3-5 robots, there will be one full-time equivalent (FTE) employee supervising them. By 2030, this will change to one FTE for every 7-10 robots.
Robot density in the US has increased steadily through the years. In 2021, The US had 274 robots for every 10,000 workers, making it the ninth most automated country in the world, according to the International Federation of Robotics (IFR).
Other countries, like China, for example, have been more rapidly increasing their robot density. From 2020 to 2021, China went from being tied for the ninth most automated country worldwide to being fifth with 322 industrial robots for every 10,000 employees, surpassing Chinese Taipai, the United States, Hong Kong and Sweden in robot density.
As a whole, robot installations hit an all-time high in 2021, according to the IFR. The IFR’s report showed that 517,385 new industrial robots were installed in 2021 in factories around the world.
For the past two years in a row, 2022 and 2021, North American robot sales have hit a record high, according to the Association for Advancing Automation (A3). North American companies ordered 44,196 robots in 2022, an 11% increase from 2021. Those sales were valued at $2.38 billion, an 18% increase from the year before.