Report forecasts rise in demand for industrial robots

07 December 2006

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According to a new ARC Advisory Group study, the industrial robotics market will grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 7.7 per cent over the next five years. This growth is driven by small and medium-sized businesses in developed markets and strong sales in developing markets such as China, India, Korea, and Taiwan. The hardware market was worth US$3590.5million in 2005 and is forecast to be over US$5118million in 2010.

Current robotic innovations have had a strong effect on the very nature of the industrial robot as it is now known. ARC Analyst Stefan Surpitski, the principal author of Industrial Robotics Worldwide Outlook, comments: "Technology exists for robots to perform fixtureless sorting and to integrate those robotics within machine tools. All of which combines to create faster cycle times and more floor space. The current generation of robotics has yielded technological breakthroughs that have changed the very way in which people use and think about robotics and manufacturing processes."

Both application and simulation software are advancing rapidly and are facilitating adoption of robotic systems in sectors that have either limited resources or a less skilled workforce. The age of digital manufacturing is reducing the skill level required to apply robotics such that programming and factory planning are accessible to a broader user base.

Co-ordinated Cellular Robotics

The robotics market will continue to be driven by innovation. There is a growing need among end users to speed the flow of product through the factory and consume a minimum of factory floor space. To address this problem, new robotic configurations are emerging that lend themselves to greater workflow efficiency. The technology, known as Co-ordinated Cellular Robotics (CCR), consists of conveyorless cells that employ robots capable of working co-operatively and simultaneously on a single workpiece.

ARC also expects developed countries that are traditionally thought of as large robotics consumers to grow the robotic installed base, but at a slower pace as the market becomes more saturated. In these regions, small and medium-sized manufacturers will utilise robotics to more efficiently customise products in smaller production lots. In countries where low labour rates may have prevailed over technology in years past, adoption is expected to increase at a higher rate.

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