Robotics EU leader in automation

Editor: Rosemarie Stahl

The European Union is a global leader when it comes to automated manufacturing: According to the World Robotics Report, 65% of the countries with an above-average number of industrial robots per 10,000 employees, are located in the EU. Meanwhile, the strongest growth drivers for the robotics industry are found in China.

Many European countries have an above average robot density (Number of multi-purpose robots per 10,000 employees in the manufacturing industry 2015).
Many European countries have an above average robot density (Number of multi-purpose robots per 10,000 employees in the manufacturing industry 2015).
(Bild: Pixabay)

"Automation is a central competitive factor for traditional manufacturing groups and is also becoming increasingly important for small and medium-sized enterprises around the world, " says Joe Gemma, President of the International Federation of Robotics (IFR).

By 2019, more than 1.4 million new industrial robots will be installed in factories, around 40% of the worldwide market volume of industrial robots will be sold in China alone. So says the 2016 World Robotics Report, as published by the IFR.

Number of industrial robots is increasing in Europe

With a rise in sales of 25% in 2015, the strongest growth figures in Europe are being posted by the Central and Eastern European states. In 2016, a similar growth rate of 29% is forecasted. The IFR expects this trend to continue. The average growth will remain steady at around 14% per year till 2019. The biggest climbers in sales of industrial robots are the Czech Republic and Poland. Between 2010 and 2015, the number of new robot installations climbed in the Czech Republic by 40% (compound annual growth rate) and in Poland by 26% (CAGR).

In a worldwide comparison, the European Union member states as a whole are particularly advanced in automation. This is evident from the robot density existing in the automotive industry. Half of the top 10 nations with the most industrial robots per 10,000 employees belong to the European Union. The highly developed nature of automation in Europe is also clear from looking at the manufacturing industry. Of the 22 countries with an above-average robot density, 14 are located in the EU. The robot density in the big Western European economies is still currently ahead of up-and-coming China.

The growing market in China

With a national 10-year plan - entitled "Made in China 2025" - the country is aiming to become one of the top technological industrial nations within a few years. However, in order to achieve Beijing's target of a robot density of 150 units by 2020, some 600,000 to 650,000 new industrial robots will have to be installed throughout China. By comparison: Around 254,000 units were sold in the global market during 2015. Nevertheless, today China is already leading the sales market. At around 68,600 units sold, the statistics for 2015 were 20% above the previous year's figures, thereby exceeding the volume of sales for all European markets combined (50,100 units). Total sales will increase by 30% in 2016 and between 2016 and 2019 by 20% on average to more than 400,000 units in 2019. This will be 40% of the total sales in 2019.

The Republic of Korea and Japan come in second and third place, as the world's largest sales markets for industrial robots. The number of units sold in 2015 grew by 55% in the Republic of Korea and by 20% in Japan. Together with Singapore, these two countries lead the rankings of the global automated economies for robot density in manufacturing. With a stable economic situation, it may be expected that both Korea and Japan will see an average annual growth of 5% in sales of robots from 2016 to 2019.

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