Industrial Robots: Technology And Business Opportunity
Industrial robots have been widely applied in a broad range of fields such as assembly, production, electric welding, spraying and painting, food packaging, and component installation. Recent years, several companies have seen aggressive investment in related technologies or M&A activities, including Fanuc, ABB, KUKA, Yaskawa, Mitsubishi, Hitachi, Sony, Toyota, Honda, and Samsung. Even Foxconn has jumped on the bandwagon. Report provides an overview of the industrial robot technologies and thorough patent data mining results that reflect major vendors’ patent deployments and technology trends. Also included are the outlook for the industrial robot market and opportunities for perspective entrants.
What is Industrial robots?
The IFR (International Federation of Robotics) has defined industrial robots as an automatically controlled, reprogrammable, multipurpose manipulator programmable in three or more axes and may be used in industrial automation applications.
The IFR has further categorized industrial robots into six types based on their mechanical structures: articulated robots, Cartesian/linear/gantry robots, SCARA (Selective Compliance Assembly Robot Arm) robots, cylindrical robots, parallel robots, and others
The automation capabilities of industrial robots rely on the following systems: sensor systems, process systems, planning systems, control systems, electrical & electronic systems, and mechanical systems.
Industrial Robots Market Outlook
Industrial robots have involved a variety of systems that are integrated and spread across cross-disciplinary industries. Smart applications included are assembly and production, welding, spraying and painting, food packaging, component assembly, moving, loading and uploading. Also, industrial robots have attracted many leading companies to get involved through technology investments or M&A. Companies namely ABB, KUKA, Fanuc, Yaskawa, Sony, Toyota, Honda, and Samsung, as well as Foxconn have all set foot into this arena.
To understand the market size, development trends and major applications, information from different sources was collected and analysed. These sources included major players’ product information, IFR’ market research information, information on the industrial robot market and industry, and blogs about industrial robots.
The market research shows industrial robot market volume rose to 162,000 units in 2013 up from 159,346 units in 2012 and is expected to hit 191,800 units in 2016.
Among all industrial robots sold, the majority are used for handling, followed by welding, assembly, and operations in clean rooms, dispensing, processing, and other purposes.
Worldwide Industrial Robot Market Volume, 2010 – 2016
According to IFR, industrial robot market volume reached 162,000 units in 2013 up from 159,346 units in 2012 with a CAGR of 8% from 2010 to 2016. With its market value breaking US$8 billion in 2012, the development of industrial robots has been hinging on the US, German, Japanese, Chinese, and Korean markets. China has posted the highest growth for industrial robot sales, especially robots for welding, handling, and assembly applications in the automobile and electronic/electrical industries.
Due to a high level of reliance on imported components such as servo motors, controllers, and speed reducers, the Taiwanese robot industry has been challenged by high costs. In addition, the Taiwanese robot industry has lagged behind the US, Japan, and Europe in technology development. Demand for industrial robots in recent years has recessed, possibly due to migration of manufacturing and contract manufacturing sectors off-shore.
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