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1.7 million new robots in factories by 2020

28 September 2017

By 2020 more than 1.7 million new industrial robots will be installed in factories around the world, according to the 2017 World Robotics Report, published by the International Federation of Robotics (IFR).

Today, the strongest growth in the robotics industry is in Asia – led by China as the world´s number one marketplace. In 2017 robot installations are estimated to increase by 21% in the Asia-Australia region. Robot supplies in the Americas will surge by 16% and in Europe by 8%.

Robot adoption is a response to faster business cycles and the requirement to produce with greater flexibility tailored to customer demand in all manufacturing sectors. A new generation of industrial robots will pave the way for ever more flexible automation.

Joe Gemma, president of the International Federation of Robotics, comments: "Robots offer high levels of precision and their connectivity will play a key role in new digital manufacturing environments. Increasing availability enables more and more manufacturers from companies of all sizes to automate.”

In terms of units, it is estimated that by 2020 the worldwide stock of operational industrial robots will increase from about 1,828,000 units at the end of 2016 to 3,053,000 units. This represents an average annual growth rate of 14% between 2018 and 2020. In Australasia the operational stock of robots is estimated to increase by 16% in 2017, by 9% in the Americas and by 7% in Europe.

Since 2016, the largest number of industrial robots in operation has been in China. In 2020, this will amount to about 950,300 units, considerably more than in Europe (611,700 units). The Japanese robot stock will slightly increase in the period between 2018 and 2020. About 1.9 million robots will be in operation across Asia in 2020. This is almost equal to the global stock of robots in 2016.