IFR: Robotics sales increased by 30% in 2011, exceeded forecasts

According to the International Federation of Robotics (IFR) Quarterly Statistics, in 2011 sales of industrial robots will reach a peak level of approximately 150,000 units, representing an increase of around 30% over 2010.

According to the International Federation of Robotics (IFR) Quarterly Statistics, in 2011 sales of industrial robots will reach a peak level of approximately 150,000 units, representing an increase of around 30% over 2010.

Jeff Burnstein, president of the Robotic Industries Association in the United States, comments that "the growing interest in automation combined with the strengthening of North American manufacturing industries, particularly automotive, contributed to a great year for the robotics industry."

“We were sure about a good year in 2011, but the results have been far better than the expectations," says IFR vice president Arturo Baroncelli (Comau; Italy). "In a still unclear worldwide economic scenario one thing is certain: The use of robots always guarantees fast return of investments and dramatic improvements in terms of quality. And this is true both in car and general industry, both in emerging countries and nations having a long industrial tradition."

Dr. Shinsuke Sakakibara, IFR president, has stated that emerging economies and industry in places such as China have made an impact on sales of factory automation equipment. Overall machine tools sales seem to be slowing under the shadow of the European currency crisis and a strict financial policy in China, he notes, but these factors do not seem to apply to robotics sales.

IFR also noted that the AUTOMATICA 2012 trade show and exhibition may drive an additional boost in robotics and automation equipment sales.

According to IFR's statement, many robotics vendors have noted record sales or growth that exceeded corporate forecasts. Among the companies that reported, KUKA Roboter (Germany) saw 40% growth in its robotics division, says IFR board member and KUKA CEO Manfred Gundel. "The year 2011 was one of the most successful years in the history of the KUKA Robot Group. [W]e decided to increase our production capacities. The potential for robot use is enormous. I am sure that the global mega trends like sustainability, increasing industrialization, and the demographic shift will boost the robotics industry."

Per Vegard Nerseth, head of ABB Robotics (Switzerland), adds, "Growth in the automotive sector continued unabated and was strongly supported by an increased uptake in growth segments such as electronics, solar, and food and beverage. We fully expect this growth to continue through 2012 with the increased demand throughout the Asia region continuing to be an important factor."

The IFR Statistical Department, which is hosted by the VDMA Robotics + Automation Association, publishes two studies of world robotics: World Robotics 2011 Industrial Robots and World Robotics 2011 Service Robots.

SOURCE: International Federation of Robotics/VDMA

-- Posted by Vision Systems Design

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