Industrial robot sales remain strong

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The number of industrial robots sold globally in 2012 remained at the record levels sold in 2011, according to the International Federation of Robotics (IFR). The IFR estimates that sales for industrial robots has reached 160,000 for 2012.

Shinsuke Sakakibara, IFR president, felt the results were positive, commenting: ‘Despite the weak global economic development in 2012 the demand for global robot sales almost reached the all-time-high level of 2011. Investments in automation are ongoing!’

Robot sales to the Americas continued to increase due to necessary automation process in the North American industry. The supply to Asia stagnated. Robot sales to the biggest markets, Japan and Korea, stagnated or decreased while those to the emerging markets continued to rise. Robot supplies to Europe were lower than in 2011 due to the public debt crisis within the euro-zone.

Between 2002 and 2012 the annual increase of global robot sales was about 9 per cent on average, according to the IFR. Following the global financial and economic crisis in 2009, the robot demand surged in 2010 and 2011. Investments of the electronics industry did not meet expectations in 2012, but the trend towards automation continued in all other industries. The main drivers of the growth toward automation were and will be energy-efficiency and light weight construction materials, the IFR said.

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