June 22, 2022 by Manufacturing AUTOMATION
According to the latest report released by the International Federation of Robotics (IFR), sales of industrial robots have reached a strong recovery worldwide.
A new record of 486,800 units were shipped globally – an increase of 27 percent compared to the previous year. In the Americas, installations increased by 27 percent, with 49,400 units sold. Europe had double-digit growth of 15 percent with 78,000 units installed. Asia and Australia saw the largest growth in demand with installations going up 33 percent reaching 354,500 units. IFR has published these preliminary results for 2021.
“Robot installations around the world recovered strongly and make 2021 the most successful year ever for the robotics industry,” says Milton Guerry, president of IFR. “Due to the ongoing trend towards automation and continued technological innovation, demand reached high levels across industries. In 2021, even the pre-pandemic record of 422,000 installations per year in 2018 was exceeded.”
According to IFR, in 2021, the main growth driver was the electronics industry (132,000 installations, an increase of 21 percent), which surpassed the automotive industry (109,000 installations, a 37 percent increase) as the largest customer of industrial robots already in 2020. Metal and machinery (57,000 installations, an increase of 38 percent) followed, ahead of plastics and chemical products (22,500 installations, up by 21 percent) and food and beverages (15,300 installations, up by 24 percent).
Recovery in the Americas
In the Americas, the number of industrial robot installations reached the second-best result ever, only surpassed by the record year 2018 (55,200 installations). The largest American market, the United States, shipped 33,800 units – this represents a market share of 68 percent.
Europe and Asia
Industrial robot installations in Europe recovered in 2021 after two years of decline – exceeding the peak of 75,600 units in 2018. Demand from the most important adopter, the automotive industry, moved at a high level sideways (19,300 installations). Demand from metal and machinery rose strongly (15,500 installations, up 50 percent), followed by plastics and chemical products (7,700 installations, up 30 percent).
IFR notes in its report that Asia remains the world’s largest industrial robot market. Seventy-three percent of all newly deployed robots in 2021 were installed in Asia. A total of 354,500 units were shipped in 2021, up 33 percent compared to 2020. The electronics industry adopted by far the most units (123,800 installations, up 22 percent), followed by strong demand from the automotive industry (72,600 installations, up 57 percent) and the metal and machinery industry (36,400 installations, up 29 percent).