The use of robots in manufacturing industries worldwide is “accelerating at a high rate” as the average robot density has nearly doubled in the past five years, rising to 126 units per 10,000 employees in 2020, the International Federation of Robotics (IFR) has said.
The average robot density was highest in Asia or Australia with 134 units, followed by Europe with 123 units and the Americas with 111 units, according to the “2021 World Robot Report” published by the IFR.
“Robot density is the barometer to track the degree of automation adoption in the manufacturing industry around the world,” IFR President Milton Guerry said.
South Korea has had the highest robot density in the world since 2010. With 932 units per 10,000 employees, the country exceeded the global average seven-fold, according to the report.
“With its globally recognised electronics industry and a distinct automotive industry, the (South) Korean economy is based on the two largest areas for industrial robots,” the report said. Since 2015, robot density has increased by 10 per cent annually, Xinhua news agency reported.
“The development of robot density in China is the most dynamic worldwide,” the report found. Robot density soared from 49 units in 2015 to 246 in 2020. China now ranks ninth in the world, a big leap compared to 25th five years ago.
Germany was Europe’s most automated country with a robot density of 371 units in 2020. The country’s robotics industry is “recovering, mainly driven by strong overseas business rather than by the domestic or European market,” the IFR noted.
In the US, the “modernisation of domestic production facilities has boosted robot sales,” as robot density rose from 176 units in 2015 to 255 units in 2020, according to the report. The use of industrial robots would also help the country achieve its decarbonisation targets.