An all-time high of 517,385 new industrial robots were installed during 2021 in factories around the world, according to World Robotics Report 2022. The new figure represents a growth rate of 31 percent year-on-year and exceeds the pre-pandemic record of robot installation in 2018 by 22 percent.
The full stock of operational robots around the globe hit a new record of about 3.5 million units.
“The use of robotics and automation is growing at a breathtaking speed,” says Marina Bill, president of the International Federation of Robotics. “Within six years, annual robot installations more than doubled. According to our latest statistics, installations grew strongly in 2021 in all major customer industries, although supply chain disruptions as well as different local or regional headwinds hampered production.”
In 2021, 50,712 industrial robots were installed in the Americas, 31 percent more than in 2020. This is a remarkable recovery from the pandemic dip in 2020 and the second time that robot installations in the Americas exceeded the 50,000-unit mark, with 55,212 units in 2018 setting the benchmark. New installations in the United States were up by 14 percent to 34,987 units in 2021.
Asia remains the world’s largest market for industrial robots, accounting for 74 percent of all newly deployed robots in 2021. Installations for the region’s largest adopter, China, grew by 51 percent with 268,195 units shipped. China’s operational stock broke the 1 million-unit mark.
Japan remained the second-largest user of industrial robots, with installations rising 22 percent in 2021 (47,182 units), and an operational stock of 393,326 units.
Japan is the world’s predominant robot manufacturing country. Exports of Japanese industrial robots achieved a new peak level at 186,102 units in 2021.
Robot installations in Europe were up 24 percent to 84,302 units in 2021, led by Germany and followed by Italy.
The number of installed robots in Germany grew by 6 percent to 23,777 units in 2021. This is the second-highest installation count ever recorded, following the peak caused by massive investments from the automotive industry in 2018 (26,723 units). The operational stock of robots was calculated at 245,908 units (+7 percent) in 2021. Exports of industrial robots from Germany were up 41 percent to 22,870 units, exceeding the pre-pandemic level.
Globally, order books are full and demand for industrial robots has never been higher. In total, global robot installations are expected to grow by 10 percent to almost 570,000 units in 2022. The post-pandemic boom experienced in 2021 is expected to fade in 2022. From 2022 to 2025, average annual growth rates in the medium to upper single-digit range are forecast.
This story was excerpted from a report by the International Federation of Robotics. Read the full report at this link: https://bit.ly/3ghqUnN. Copies of the World Robotics 2022 Industrial Robots and Service Robots reports can be downloaded here.