IFR estimates 5 per cent increase in industrial robot sales

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The IFR, which is hosted by VDMA Robotics and Automation, has estimated a 5 per cent increase in industrial robots sold worldwide, based on the results of the IFR quarterly statistics.

‘The global demand for industrial robots reached an all-time-high of about 168,000 units in 2013,’ said Arturo Baroncelli, IFR president. ‘The success story of the robotics industry is continuing.’

Robot sales to the Americas continued to increase due to necessary automation processes in the North American industry. Robot sales to Asia rose considerably due to strong demand from China, South Korea and other growing Asian markets. In the fourth quarter 2013, the start of recovery in the Euro-zone pushed robot demand substantially, but due to the rather weak development in the first three quarters, robot sales in Europe stagnated in 2013.

The company also said that between 2010 and 2013 the annual increase of global robot sales was about 12 per cent on average despite the critical economic situation in some key countries. ‘One basic reason for the continuous growth in the use of robotics is its never ending technological development in relation with market and industrial requirements, accounting for product quality and competitiveness as well as safe processes,’ explained Baroncelli.

Joe Gemma, IFR vice president, added: ‘Those of us in the industry are not surprised by the growth as many factors have contributed to the increase use of robotics worldwide. The software to work with and run robots and automation cells has developed rapidly over the last few years and the ease of use has transcended into more applications under a very demanding and dynamic manufacturing landscape that would not have been tackled in the past. This has enabled manufacturers to provide products to the market quicker and with flexibility of variations to meet consumer demand and at the same time ensure the quality required and the performance demanded.

Gemma continued: ‘Additionally, development tools have enabled more R&D variations on traditional product portfolios and has provided the possibility to "push the envelope" to bring more innovation quicker to the market place. Certainly the volume increases over the last several years has created a cost benefit that is shared to the automation consumers and is now more attractive to non-traditional markets. These changes and others have contributed to the advancement and increase for worldwide demand for automation solutions.’

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