September 2011

All-time-high for industrial robots and continued growth for professional service robots

Substantial increase in industrial robot installations

After another significant rise of 18% in industrial robot sales in 2011 to about 140,000 units - a new peak level - a further increase will resume in the period between 2012 and 2014, about 6% per year on average attaining a level of about 167,000 units in 2014.  This is according to the "World Robotics 2011 - Industrial Robots", the annual study published by the International Federation of Robotics (IFR) in September along with a separate study on "Service Robots", covering a wide range of information on worldwide statistics, market analysis, forecasts, case studies and profitability of robot investment.   

The stock of robots operating in the factories worldwide will increase to about 1.3 million units at the end of 2014. "However, it is still possible that due to a shortage of components and capacity problems a part of these expected robot installations in 2011 will have to be shifted to 2012", annotated Dr. Shinsuke Sakakibara, the President of IFR. He added: "Certain risks are involved with regard to this rather optimistic forecast, i.e. weakening growth of the world economy or even a new recession caused by financial problems of major markets."

According to "World Robotics 2011", growth in robot installations will continue to take place in the emerging markets and in North America. But, robot supply to China will further surge and at least by 2014, China will surpass other countries to top the robot market worldwide regarding the annual supply.

Professional service robots - continued robust growth between 2011 and 2014 

The IFR Statistical Department in "World Robotics 2011 - Service Robots" reports that more than 13,700 service robots for professional use were sold in 2010, 4% more than in 2009. The sales value increased by 15% to US$3.2 billion. Military systems and agricultural applications are highlighted as predominating the market.

The projections for the period 2011 to 2014 indicate that sales are to increase by about 87,500 units of professional service robots in total. Thereof, more than 25,500 milking robots are deemed to be sold in the period 2011-2014, followed by service robots for defense applications with more than 22,600 units (a rather conservative estimate).  


These two service robot groups make up 55% of the total forecast for the professional service robots.

A strong growing sector will be the mobile platforms in general use. Service robot suppliers estimate that about 12,000 mobile platforms in general use will be sold in the period 2011-2014. Sales of logistic systems and medical robots will also increase considerably in this period. The value of professional service robots between 2011 and 2014 is estimated at about US$ 14 billion in total. 

"Future robot systems will be aimed at supporting citizens in key areas of activity: service robots in the professional domain will reduce physical workloads and will intervene in hazardous or life-critical environments; robot companions will improve personal well-being, security, comfort and entertainment." stated Martin Hägele, Chairman of the IFR Service Robot Group.


The two volumes of World Robotics are published annually and are the most valuable source of information covering all relevant market related activities of industrial and service robots. More information on the 2011 World Robotics Reports are available via:

> Press release - World Robotics 2011 Industrial Robots 

> Press release - World Robotics 2011 Service Robots

To order your copy of World Robotics 2011 click here 



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