The Automotive Sector Buys Half of All Industrial Robots

US automotive industry employs 1,141 robots per 10,000 human employees.

The International Federation of Robotics (IFR) recently announced that the number of industrial robots sold will rise by at least five percent per annum to a record 31,000 units by 2018.

These numbers are significant for robot-makers around the world, but the real kicker is who is buying them. About one-half of these purchases will be made by the global automotive sector.

Today, the US automotive industry employs 1,141 robot units per 10,000 employees, according to the IFR. The US is ranked third according to robotic density in the 2015 World Robot Statistics, with Germany (1,149 units) and Japan (1,414 units) taking second and first place respectively – no shockers there.

The IFR also released a graph detailing the numbers in comparison to all other industries within the top eight ranking nations.

(Image courtesy the International Federation of Robotics.)

(Image courtesy the International Federation of Robotics.)

Within the NAFTA regions (USA, Canada and Mexico), the automotive industry is experiencing the fastest growth in use of robotics, with 55 percent of demand for industrial robots coming from this sector alone.

The supply industry makes up one fourth of this demand total, which the IFR claims “is allowing the US to supply the world’s largest domestic market and to produce the greatest number of cars and light commercial vehicles after China.”

Much of the automotive industry’s purchasing of robotics, along with that of many other industries, is due to growing investment in technical renewal in domestic manufacturing. By investing in industrial robots, manufacturers are looking to increase their competitiveness without offshoring.

(Image courtesy the International Federation of Robotics.)

(Image courtesy the International Federation of Robotics.)

Automotive suppliers are also seeking to improve quality standards, energy efficiency, material usage and their proximity to customer bases.

The IFR states the number of investments in industrial robotics within the NAFTA region have increased by 40 percent every year since 2010 and are expected to rise.

“Clearly the automotive industry continues to drive innovation in the automation arena and need for optimization, quality, adaptability and flexibility”, said Joe Gemma, president of the IFR. “The need from OEMs has filtered down to the supplier base to work on improved quality, flexibility and process optimization. This has fostered the requirement for automation technologies to meet demands for quicker delivery times and adaption to dynamic environments.”

For more information, visit