Robot Density unveils high potential in many countries – says IFR report for 2018

“The comparison of values for different countries (note: to improve readability, the word „country“ refers to geographical units in general) is a frequent application of the World Robotics Industrial Robots data. Depending on the point in question, the absolute number of units might be a misleading measure when countries have different economic sizes. The economic size varies between countries (cross-sectional) and over time (longitudinal). The absolute number of operating robots by country (operational stock) does not reflect the size of the economy. It is therefore preferable to use robot density as a standard for comparison. To improve readability, World Robotics Industrial Robots defines robot density as the number of multipurpose industrial robots in operation per 10,000 persons employed. It distinguishes the manufacturing industry, the automotive industry as defined by ISIC revision 4:10-33 and the general industry (manufacturing industry without automotive).” says IFR in report.

“In 2017, the average robot density in the manufacturing industry was 85 robots per 10,000 employees. Europe is the region with the highest robot density with an average value of 106 units. In the Americas, the value is 91 units and in Asia/Australia it is 75 units.”

“The countries with the highest robot densities by far are the Republic of Korea (710 robots per 10,000 employees) and Singapore (658 robots). The Republic of Korea has had by far the highest robot density in the manufacturing industry since 2010. The rate has been increasing from 311 units in 2010 due to continued installation of a large volume of robots since 2010, particularly in the electrical/electronics industry and in the automotive industry. Singapore follows due to a very low number of employees in the manufacturing industry – some 240,000 employees according to ILO. About 84% of the robots in Singapore are installed in the electronics industry. Compared to Germany (322 units per 10,000 employees) and Japan (308), the gap is remarkable. 2009, Japan had the highest robot density worldwide. ”

“In 2009, China had 11 units installed per 10,000 employees in the manufacturing sector, so its density increased almost by factor 10 to 97 units per 10,000 employees.”

And now about the regions:
“Europe is the region with the highest robot density with an average value of 106 units. In the Americas, the value is 91 units and in Asia/Australia it is 75 units.”

What about level or automation?
“The level of automation is generally much higher in the automotive industry than in all other sectors. In the Republic of Korea, 2,435 industrial robots per 10,000 employees were in operation in 2017. That is twice the value of 2010 (1,239) and by far the highest level ever reached. Since 2014, a significant number of industrial robots have been sold to the automotive industry in the Republic of Korea. Huge projects aimed at manufacturing batteries for hybrid and electro cars might be the reason for this high increase in robot density.” says IFR.

“Canada’s robot density increased to 1,354 units per 10,000 employees in the automotive industry in 2017. The United States (1,200), Germany (1,162), Japan (1,158) and France (1,156) also have high robot densities in the automotive industry. Austria (1,083) and Slovenia (1,075) now join the list of countries that exceed the mark of 1,000 robots per 10,000 employees in 2017. Robot densities in Spain (990), Thailand (974) and Taiwan (940) are also at a high level. The robot density in the general industry (all industries excluding automotive) is still comparatively low. However, countries with an important electronics industry have a higher rate. The Republic of Korea is on top with 533 robots installed per 10,000 employees. It is followed by Japan with 225 robots, Germany with 191 and Sweden with 180 units. Germany and Sweden do not have any important production sites regarding the electronics industry. The comparatively high rate in both countries is due to a more diversified distribution of industrial robots in all industries. The increasing automation in the production of electronic devices will push robot installations within the related production hubs, particularly in Asian countries. Taiwan ranks fifth with 164 units, Italy follows with 160 units. The United States and Austria share seventh place with 117 units. A number of other European countries, China and Canada have densities between 30 and 90. Most of the emerging robot markets have a robot density below 30.”

The whole report you can download here.