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Global sales of industrial robots hit a new record in 2015

18 April, 2016

The number of industrial robots sold worldwide last year exceeded 240,000 for the first time – equivalent to a year-on-year growth rate of 8% – according to new figures released by the International Federation of Robotics (IFR).

Articulated robots were still the most popular type of robot by far, with more than 150,000 being sold worldwide during 2015, and achieving a CAGR of 16% between 2010 and 2015. The biggest purchaser of robots during 2015 was again the automotive industry.

More than a quarter of the new robots sold last year – 66,000 – were bought in China, which is world’s largest purchaser of these machines. Although this represents a sales growth of 16%, it is much lower than the IFR’s original forecast of 30%.

Demand in Asia, outisde of China, remained at a high level last year, with 78,000 robots being sold.

In Europe, sales of industrial robots rose by a record 9% during 2015 to a total of nearly 50,000. Eastern Europe, with a growth rate of 29%, proved to be one of the fastest-growing regions.

Global sales of industrial robots: the figure for 2015 is preliminary
Source: IFR Statistical Department

The number of industrial robots deployed in North America also set a new record, with the US, Canada and Mexico buying a total of 34,000 machines, representing year-on-year growth of 11%.

Commenting on the IFR figures, Per Vegard Nerseth, managing director of ABB Robotics, says that they confirm that “these are very exciting times to be in the robotics industry. As we move into 2016, the traditional drivers in our industry are now being complemented by the tremendous demand for solutions related to the Internet of Things, Services and People, all of which lead me to believe that this year will be yet another record year for all concerned.”

Olaf Gehrels, CEO of Fanuc Europe, adds that “along the way, two technological milestones have been set: collaborative robots based on standard robots equipped with tested and proven controllers have demonstrated their readiness for routine use in the industrial environment; and the introduction of high-payload robots capable of handling items weighing up to 2,300kg now allows the employment of totally new manufacturing concepts.”

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