|The robotics industry has come a long way since General Motors installed the world's first robot on the production line in 1962. In the following decades many installations in the automotive industry followed and due to new technologies, growing capabilities and falling prices new fields of application were added as well. Nowadays, (large-scale) production without the help of robots is almost unthinkable. The use of robots in production optimises efficiency as well as quality and helps to limit the workers exposure to hazardous environments. Automation is of particular strategic importance for Europe; it is through its application that manufacturing remains competitive in higher wage regions of the world.||Arc welding robot|
Over the past years, the European robotics industry has gradually reduced its dependence on the automotive industry and its subcontractors and has systematically opened up and expaned new fields of application for robots (e.g. rubber and plastics industry, metal and machine industry, electronics, food and beverage). However, the main applications are handling, welding and dispensing (more than 70% of the robots are used for handling and welding!).
According to the study World Robotics by the International Federation of Robotics (IFR), robot sales in Europe hit a new peak in 2011 with 43,800 units. In 2012, about 41,200 industrial robots were sold in Europe, which is 6% less than 2011 but still the second highest level ever recorded. Between 2007 and 2012 the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of robot supplies to Europe was about 3% on average. The study points out that the global robot sales in 2013 will increase by about 2% to 162,000 units.
The IFR Statistical Department expects that between 2014 and 2016 worldwide robot sales will increase by about 6% on average per year. In 2016, the annual supply of industrial robots will reach more than 190,000 units.
In Europe, robot sales are expected to decrease again in 2013 by 6%. From 2014 to 2016, sales are expected to increase by 4% on average, per year.
Plastic sealing robot