China is coming to Chicago, and it’s hungry for robots

The Automate conference will include 15 exhibitors from the Asian superpower, where there’s a voracious appetite for robotics and automation.

By Mike Bacidore, editor in chief

The number of industrial robots in Asia is increasing. No, exploding. The number of robots in operation grew by 70% from 2010 to 2015. Asia added 160,600 units in 2015 alone, setting a new record for the fourth straight year, according to the World Robotics Report 2016, published by the International Federation of Robotics (IFR).

China has become the world’s largest industrial-robot market, and the acquisition of Kuka Robotics by China’s Midea means the country will drive growth in not only Asia, but the entire world.

Spurred by a surge in the electrical and electronics industry, China’s appetite for robots is insatiable (Figure 1). “One of the areas that's growing pretty dramatically is China,” says Joe Gemma, chief regional officer, North America, at Kuka, and IFR president. “They have a 2025 initiative to be a leader in automation globally, so that will continue to grow. In the past four-year period, China has acquired 189,000 robots. That trajectory will continue to 163% growth over the next four years to 2019.” Gemma previously served on the board of directors for the Robotic Industries Association (RIA), part of the Association for Advancing Automation (A3), whose biennial Automate conference and exhibition will take place this coming April in Chicago.

Of particular note at this year’s event will be the participation of 15 companies from Asia’s fastest-growing robotics country, China. But you’ll find more than robots at Automate. It’s quickly become one of the premier events for all industrial automation, including vision, sensing and motion control.

The IntegratedSolutionsCenter will highlight RIA’s certified integrators, the Future of Automation pavilion is the place to find what’s new in automation technologies and discover the jobs of the future.

But, let’s be honest, it’s robots that you want, and collaborative applications are top of mind in many industries. And there’s plenty of that at Automate. From the exhibits on the show floor to the conference sessions, no one will leave hungry for more information.

ALSO READ: Collaborative Robotics in Automation: Explore new technology,  trends & applications

Six conference sessions will provide insights on topics including:

  • the difference between collaborative robots and industrial robots
  • how to scale collaborative robot capabilities
  • an overview of ISO/TS15066
  • how to connect robots and siloed information
  • grippers and end effectors
  • the robot renaissance that has initiated a fifth industrial revolution.

Look for me there. And be sure to get your hands on IFR’s latest report. Satisfy your hunger.