Industrial Robots: 50 Years and Going Strong

More than 2.3 million industrial robots have been sold around the world since the first installment in 1961, and 2011 was the most successful year yet, according to Shinsuke Sakakibara, president of the International Federation of Robotics (IFR), as he and others celebrated 50 years of industrial robotics last week at Automatica in Munich. "And the robotics industry is looking forward to a bright future," he added.

About 165,000 industrial robots were sold worldwide in 2011, 37% more than in 2010 and by far the highest level ever recorded, said Arturo Baroncelli, IFR's vice president. "The impetuous increase of demand in 2010 and 2011 following the worldwide financial and economic crisis exceeded all our expectations," he said. "We expect that in 2012, robot sales will further increase with a more reduced growth rate and again reach a new peak level."

Baroncelli pointed to the return on investments and quality improvements offered by robots. "And this is true both in the car and the general industry; both in emerging countries and in nations having a long industrial tradition," he added.

China, the U.S. and Germany stood out as particular growth countries in 2011, with robot sales growing 39-51% in those locations, and all three reaching new peak levels. Japan and South Korea remain the top markets, however. Japan's industrial robot sales increased 27% in 2011, rising to almost 28,000 industrial robots. Robot sales increased just 9% in the Republic of Korea to 25,500 units.

Almost 22,600 industrial robots were supplied in 2011 to China's market, whose market has been growing the fastest in recent years. China is expected to top the global robot market by 2014.

Key industry trends include continued strong growth in the automotive industry, primarily through continuing modernization and increasing capacities in emerging markets. Increased automation, especially in the metal and machinery industry, also boosted robot sales to other industries. The electrical/electronics industry grew at a slower rate in 2011, but that was coming off an almost tripling of robot installations in 2010.

To read about 50 years of development in industrial robotics—from the development of the first industrial robot in 1959 to the launch of the first humanoid robot in space in 2011—check out the timeline.

More News:

  • Patent Dispute Settled Between Rockwell Automation and Beckhoff Automation

    Rockwell Automation's linear motor business, including its recent Jacobs Automation acquisition, has developed a substantial portfolio of patents comprising over 100 issued patents on linear motor technology alone.

  • Mergers, Acquisitions Alliances and Noteworthy News in Robotics

    Iten Industries, manufacturer of advanced composite components and materials headquartered in Ashtabula, Ohio, is now offering additive manufacturing and 3D printing services.

  • U.S. Economy Looks Up for Manufacturing Industries

    The August PMI is led by the highest recorded New Orders Index since April 2004, when it registered 67.1%.

  • ASME Forum Ignites 21st-Century Engineering

    Founder and president of HMI/SCADA software developer Iconics, Russ Agrusa, said the company is focusing on how to harness big data on any device and in any class of applications, and turn it into predictive analytics in manufacturing and business intelligence.

  • New Customer Care Center for Endress+Hauser

    To help customers keep up with today's challenges, Endress+Hauser's new, state-of-the-art Customer Center is suited to greet visitors with a top-notch certified training facility with multiple classrooms and its largest yet PTU controlled by Rockwell Automation's PlantPAx system for real-world process simulation with over 120 measuring points.

  • The Rise of Aluminum in the Industrial Sector

    It is not just price that makes aluminum appealing when put alongside copper in the production of items like electrical wires and cables, though.

  • Maverick Acquires CQS Innovation Expanding Process Expertise in the Life Sciences Industry

    The acquisition expands Maverick's size and scale as a global organization with 19 office locations and 500+ engineering professionals. In addition, Chris Roerig, current president of CQS Innovation, will join Maverick as industry manager for life sciences.

  • ISA Offers Cybersecurity Certificate Program

    The program consists of passing a course on using the ANSI/ISA-62443 standards to secure industrial control systems. The course is available in the classroom or online. Students must also pass a written exam in the classroom or online.

  • Fieldbus Groups 'Unite'

    The combined power of both organizations will aim to protect the investments that end users in process automation have made in HART and Foundation fieldbus communication technologies.

  • Guess Who Just Turned 125 Years Old?

    ABB recently celebrated its 125th anniversary in Finland.

All news »

What are your comments?

Join the discussion today. Login Here.

Comments

No one has commented on this page yet.

RSS feed for comments on this page | RSS feed for all comments