The average robot density in the manufacturing industry hit a new global record of 113 units per 10,000 employees. By regions, Western Europe (225 units) and the Nordic European countries (204 units) have the most automated production, followed by North America (153 units) and South East Asia (119 units). The world s top 10 most automated countries are: Singapore (1), South Korea (2), Japan (3), Germany (4), Sweden (5), Denmark (6), Hong Kong (7), Chinese Taipei (8), USA (9) and Belgium and Luxemburg (10). This is according to the latest World Robotics statistics, issued by the International Federation of Robotics (IFR). "Robot density is the number of operational industrial robots relative to the number of workers," says Milton Guerry, President of the International Federation of Robotics.
The use of industrial robots in factories around the world is accelerating at a high rate: 126 robots per 10,000 employees is the new average of global robot density in the manufacturing industries – nearly double the number five years ago (2015: 66 units). This is according to the 2021 World Robot Report. By regions, the average robot density in Asia/Australia is 134 units, in Europe 123 units and in the Americas 111 units. The top 5 most automated countries in the world are: South Korea, Singapore, Japan, Germany, and Sweden. "Robot density is the barometer to track the degree of automation adoption in the manufacturing industry around the world," says Milton Guerry, President of the International Federation of Robotics.
In 2015, after much research, I wrote about China having 194 robot companies and used screen shots of The Robot Report's Global Map to show where they were and a chart to show their makeup. We've just concluded another research project and have added hundreds of new Chinese companies to the database and global map. China installed 90,000 robots in 2016, 1/3 of the world's total and a 30% increase over 2015. Simply said, China has three drivers helping them move toward country-wide adoption of robotics: scale, growth momentum, and money. Startup companies can achieve scale quickly because the domestic market is so large.
Three weeks ago we reported an amusing anecdote out of China in which robot waiters in a Guangzhou restaurant had been "fired" because whencustomers flocked to the Heweilai Restaurant chain in the southern Chinese city, they found they were not all they are cracked up to be. "A staff member said the robots couldn't effectively handle soup dishes, often malfunctioned, and had to follow a fixed route that sometimes resulted in clashes. A customer also said the robots were unable to do tasks such as topping up water or placing a dish on the table." "The robots weren't able to carry soup or other food steady and they would frequently break down. The boss has decided never to use them again," said one employee. We joked in the summary saying that "for now, it appears, China's minimum wage workers, and it has a few hundred million of those, will not be phased out just yet." According to a report released by the MIT Technology Review, where some saw failure in China's "novelty" worker robots, the Chinese government saw nothing less than the opportunity to perfect what will soon put million of Chinese workers out of a job: an army of worker robots.
China purchased 141,000 industrial robots in 2017, up 58.1 per cent year-on-year, but foreign brands accounted for nearly three-quarters of that, showing that the gap is still widening between Chinese robot makers and their foreign peers. The China International Robot Industry Summit, held in Shanghai, said the sales and growth rate of industrial robots hit records in 2017. Among industrial robots, 37,825 were domestically manufactured, up 29.8 per cent year-on-year. "As robotics is expanding into nearly every industry, Chinese robot makers should realise the gap between them and foreign brands, take advantage of China's robotics development boom and learn from foreign experience to help China grow from the world's largest robot market into a robot manufacturing power," said Qu Daokui, president of China Robot Industry Alliance and chief executive of the Shenyang-based Siasun Robot and Automation company. According to Mr Qu, foreign robot makers sold 103,191 robots to China in 2017, up 71.9 per cent from a year earlier.