German media reports: the prosperity of the global robotics industry has clearly exceeded expectations

As a result, growth was once again significantly stronger than initially estimated. The federation initially estimated that global robot sales would not exceed 500,000 units until 2024.

Recently, according to the German “Handelsburg” report, the automation boom during the epidemic even surprised people inside the robotics industry. Susan Buehler, general secretary of the International Federation of Robotics, said: “We had predicted that the robotics industry would grow after the pandemic, but the reality has once again clearly exceeded our expectations.”

The federation announced this week that the number of newly installed Industrial Robots worldwide in 2021 will increase by 31% year-on-year to a record 517,385 units. As a result, growth was once again significantly stronger than initially estimated. The federation initially estimated that global robot sales would not exceed 500,000 units until 2024.

This means that global robot sales have more than doubled in the past six years. Sales in the robotics industry rose about 16 percent last year to $15 billion, according to industry estimates.

The market, which had been stagnant in the past few years, has now recovered, says Buehler. “At the moment we are especially seeing additional demand for cheaper, low-cost robots in new application areas outside the automotive industry.” For example, these domains have lower requirements for accuracy. So these areas can sometimes use robots with a base price in the $10,000 range.

The International Federation of Robotics predicts that the number of newly installed robots worldwide may increase by 10% in 2022, reaching nearly 570,000 units. The post-pandemic boom will level off somewhat, but growth rates are also expected to be in the high single-digit percentage range for the next few years.

The industry is currently benefiting from several trends. With supply chains often disrupted, many companies are moving production closer to home. “There is hardly a company today that is not paying attention to this issue,” said Sami Attia, head of technology at Swiss-based abb robotics. Due to high labor costs and a shortage of skilled workers, this reshoring of production is usually only possible through a higher degree of automation to achieve.

During the pandemic, many industrial workers, especially in the United States, are looking for new jobs, but few are qualified, Beeler said. That’s one reason the number of new robot installations in the U.S. rose 14 percent to 34,987 last year.

The market has high demand for robots, but manufacturers lack materials such as chips. “We’re seeing lead times of up to a year,” Beeler said. “That’s actually a bit bitter.” However, it also means that manufacturers are currently well-ordered and less dependent on economic fluctuations.

New robot models are often more flexible and easier to program. The robots can therefore also be used outside of the automotive industry, which has long been the most important buyer of heavy industrial robots.

Accordingly, manufacturers are optimistic despite the turmoil in the global market. “Demand for robots is higher than ever,” said Kenji Yamaguchi, chief executive of Japan’s FANUC. The world market leader is particularly looking to grow in Germany and the rest of Europe because of its presence there. The market share is lower than that in other regions.

One of FANUC’s biggest challengers is the German company KUKA. KUKA CEO Peter Monen said: “Now we hope to become the second in the medium term and the world market leader in the long term.” KUKA’s current ranking is similar to Japan’s Yaskawa Electric Co. In Fanuc and abb robotics company.

But there are entirely new challengers, including some start-ups. Tesla CEO Elon Musk also recently showed off Optimus Prime, a prototype humanoid robot that moved a metal part inside a Tesla Motors factory during a demonstration event.

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