The latest analysis from global research firm TrendForce reveals that the global demand growth for industrial robots continues to accelerate on account of workforce shortages and loss of demographic dividends. Harrison Po, senior manager of TrendForce’s photonics and innovative technologies research, said that China in recent years has been energetically pushing forward with the transformation of its economy, and sales of industrial robots in the country has been growing rapidly in response to the rising demand for automation. Based on TrendForce’s projection, the industrial robot demand in China is expected to reach 95,000 units in 2016.
The following are some of the major trends that will be developing in the worldwide robotics market in 2016:
Policies of major industrialized nations will drive the market growth for industrial and service robots
Development of robotics industry is now included as an integral part of industrialized nations’ domestic development initiatives, such as Japan’s “New Strategy for Robots,” the United States’ “Advanced Manufacturing Partnerships” and China’s 13th Five-Year Plan and “Made in China 2025.” Taken together, these policies sustain the growth in the industrial robot market as well as greatly accelerating the market expansion of specialized service robots and personal service/domestic robots.
Automotive industry will remain as a major employer of industrial robots
“Currently, the automotive industry is still the largest employer of industrial robots,” said Po. “In 2014, the automotive industries of the U.S., Japan, Germany and South Korea all had a robot density that exceeded 1,000 robot units per 10,000 human workers. In the same year, the Chinese automotive industry had a robot density of 305 robots per 10,000 workers. Since the U.S., Japan, Germany and South Korea are all major car-producing countries, their demand for industrial robots will continue to be driven by their automotive industries.”
Dual-arm collaborative robots will be a new highlight in the industrial robot market
Po also pointed that large assembly companies along with small and medium-size businesses are being heavily weighed down by rising labor costs. Additionally, labor pool is rapidly contracting in countries facing serious aging population problem. The development of dual-arm collaborative robots is thus seen as a promising solution that could simultaneously cut labor costs, improve production efficiency and fill the workforce shortage.
Service robot market will soon witness strong growth momentum
Presently, domestic robots (i.e. robotic vacuum cleaner), entertainment robots and nursing robots are supporting the service robot market. Po noted that advances in artificial intelligence have given service robots the abilities to communicate and interact with people. Robots that are designed to be their users’ life companions will therefore become a new and vibrant addition to the market. Also, a growing number of countries are seeing their agricultural sectors being impacted by aging labor population. The demand for agricultural robots is expected to take off as this problem becomes more severe in the near future.