Global demand for industrial robots has grown, reflecting technological improvements and a diversification of applications, a new report shows.
The world market for industrial robots grew to $8.2 billion in 2011, according to a report by IMS Research released last week. While 68 percent of the robots included in this figure were designed to lift payloads in excess of 15 kg (about 33 lbs), IMS predicts revenues from articulated robots designed for payloads smaller than 15 kg will increase by 6 percent a year from 2011 to 2016.
Industrial robots, traditionally used primarily for heavy-duty applications such as welding and assembly, have found wider use in other markets, such as the food, beverage and personal care and consumer electronics industries. Experts cite improvements to machine vision systems and gripping technologies that allow more accurate and delicate robotic handling.
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“The interest in industrial robots has increased in labor-intensive industries as companies look to automate and cut costs, ” IMS Research Analyst Kiran Patel said in a statement. “Taiwanese electronics manufacturer Foxconn has announced that it plans to deploy 1 million industrial robots in its plants in two to three years. Whether or not this does come into fruition is another question but this certainly points towards the growing application of industrial robots in the industry.”