Sales of industrial robots topped 240,000 units last year, with automotive and electronics sectors again leading the way, though overall growth was down from a bumper 2014 year.
The International Federation of Robotics’ annual World Robotics – Industrial Robotsreport recorded an eight per cent increase in sales, year on year.
China led with 66,000 units sold (including robots sold by local distributors), up 16 per cent, though growth year-on-year was down as a percentage from 2014’s 56 per cent increase. Reuters notes that this was also down on the IFR’s prediction of 30 per cent growth.
By region, European sales were up 9 per cent to nearly 50,000 units and North America 11 per cent to 34,000. The Eastern Europe sub-region displayed a particularly strong jump, up 29 per cent.
“In the age of Industry 4.0, the automotive industry is taking a leading role when it comes to flexible and state-of-the-art automation solutions and the direct collaboration between humans and robots”, Stefan Lampa, President and CEO of KUKA Roboter, said in a statement.
He added, “A particularly important market for us is the electronics sector: the electronics industry is confronted with an increasing number of new products, an accelerating pace of development and short product life cycles. Here too, flexibility is the be-all and end-all in the industry.”
Overall, the result was below last year’s prediction by the IFR of 15 per cent average year-on-year increases to 2018, and lower than 2014’s 29 per cent level of global growth.