In 2013, about 179,000 industrial robots were sold worldwide, representing an all-time high and 12 percent growth over 2012. And China, faced with skyrocketing labor costs, overtook Japan to become the world's largest market, with almost 37,000 industrial robots were sold.
The figures were announced by Arturo Baroncelli, President of industry group the International Federation of Robots (IFR; Frankfurt, Germany) on 4 June at the trade event Automatica in Munich and based on preliminary results of the IFR world robot statistics. "Incoming orders in the first four months of 2014 increased remarkably and requests from all customer industries are on the rise. Therefore, we expect that in 2014 growth of unit sales will continue with the same pace like in 2013," stated Baroncelli.
The plastics and rubber industry took delivery of around 11,500 robots in 2013, which was on a par with shipments in 2012. According to IFR, the main drivers of automation include carbon fiber composites, for which more efficient production processes are required to make them more viable. 1. Other growth drivers include global competiveness requiring increased productivity and higher quality and decreasing life-cycles of products and increasing variety of products requiring flexible automation.