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The rise of industrial robots is a trend that is unstoppable and a factor that is linked to globalisation. No longer do companies compete for business locally or nationally, but competition can come from all over the world and cost as well as quality are significant factors. This means that unless new technologies and production methods are embraced, it will be increasingly difficult to remain in business. Workers often see robots as a threat to their livelihood, but in fact the opposite is true.  It is just that the tedious and monotonous task they do can be performed more efficiently by automation, whilst they get re employed carrying out different tasks. Companies that invest in robotic automation position themselves for growth and this will always involve people.

Below is an extract from the Executive Summary World Robotics 2017 Industrial Robots that is available from The International Federation of Robotics.

“In 2016, robot sales increased by 16% to 294,312 units, a new peak for the fourth year in a row. The main driver of the growth in 2016 was again like in 2015 the electrical/electronics industry (+41%). Robot sales in the automotive industry increased, like in 2015, at a rather moderate rate (by 6%) after a considerable increase between 2010 and 2014. The automotive industry is still the major customer of industrial robots with a share of 35% of the total supply in 2016. The electrical/electronics industry has been catching up, specially in 2015 and 2016, reaching a share of 31% of the total supply in 2016. The electrical/electronics industry has become the most important customer in almost all major Asian markets, e.g. China, Japan, Republic of Korea.

Since 2010, the demand for industrial robots has accelerated considerably due to the ongoing trend toward automation and continued innovative technical improvements in industrial robots.  Between 2011 and 2016, the average robot sales increase was at 12% per year (CAGR).  The number of robot installations had never increased so heavily before.  Between 2005 and 2008, the average annual number of robots sold was about 115,000 units. 2009 is excluded because of the global economic and financial crisis which caused an exceptional plunge in robot sales that year.  In 2010, robot investments, which had been restrained in 2009 were the main driver of the significant increase. Between 2011 and 2016, the average annual supply rose to about 212,000 units.  This is an increase of about 84% compared to the average annual supply between 2005 and 2008 and a clear indication of the tremendous rise in demand for industrial robots worldwide.”

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