IFR press release

IFR Statistical Department

Robotics industry is recovering worldwide

2010 more than 100,000 robots sold

"This emerging demand for industrial robots after the slump in 2009 exceeds all our expectations. Already in 2010, more than 100,000 industrial robots will be sold worldwide," commented Åke Lindqvist, IFR President, ABB, the results of the IFR Quarterly Statistics on Industrial Robots 18 November 2010 in Frankfurt. "At Automatica in June this year in Munich, we would have never expected to see this type of result in just a few months. We expected to see this number in 2013."

In the first nine months of 2010 the sales of industrial robots doubled compared to the same period of the previous year. IFR Statistical Department stated: The main reasons for this revived trend towards automation are:

  • A worldwide increasing demand for eco-friendly production and products
  • The need to increase productivity to be competitive on the world market
  • The competition of market shares in hugely increasing consumer markets

Ake Lindqvist added: "We also feel that an accumulated need for robotics automation played a role here after the extremely low level of investments during the economic down turn."

The main drivers of the strong recovery of the robotics industry in 2010 are the car manufacturers and the electronics industry. But also the plastics industry restarted to invest in robotics. The trend towards more light weight products is causing a substantial increase in demand for plastics in cars, in houses, and for packaging. Plastics are increasingly used in the electronics and even in the medical industry. The metal industry and the automotive parts suppliers also increased their investments in robots.

Dr. Andreas Bauer, Chairman of the IFR Industrial Robot Suppliers Group, KUKA, Germany, expressed his excitement about the development in Europe: "The dynamic development of robot sales intensified again in the third quarter in Europe. In the first half, particularly the car manufacturers bought high volumes of units, but in the third quarter also the demand from all other industries increased noticeably."

Hiroshi Fujiwara, Executive Director of the Japan Robot Association (JARA) said: "An increase of robot sales in the January-September 2010 period in Japan was mainly caused by the strong demand from Asia. In particular, the export to China recovered to the peak level, and robot supplies to the automotive industry and the electrical/electronics industry both showed stable growth."

John Dulchions, Chair of RIA Statistics Committee, Adept Technology, USA commented: "The strong growth in North America reflects the increasing role robotics is playing in improving productivity across the manufacturing and soft goods sectors and the emerging role robotics is playing in addressing the needs of the services market."

Do you still have questions?
Gudrun Litzenberger, IFR Statistical Department, Telephone +49 69 66 03-1502 is ready to answer.