Robust Robots

Dec. 9, 2005
The uses of robots are increasing worldwide

There are more than 1,000,000 service robots in homes around the world, and with worldwide investment in industrial robots up 17 percent in 2004, Europe and North America are rapidly catching up with Japan , according to World Robotics 2005, a study published by the International Federation of Robotics ( in cooperation with the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe ( Here is the statistical shake out and why:


• 13-percent increase in robots ordered in the first half of 2005
• 6-percent average annual rate of worldwide growth for 2005-2008

Asian Market:
• 52,000 more robots supplied to Asian countries in 2004 than in 2003
• 17-percent increase or 37,100 more units sold in Japan
• 42-percent surge in automotive industry installations
• 64-percent surge in electrical/electronics industry
• 16-percent increase in the motor vehicle industry
• 17-percent increase in the Republic of Korea due to investments by motor vehicle producers and parts suppliers
• 125-percent surge in other Asian markets due to expanding automotive industry investments

North American Market:
• 6-percent increase or 13,400 units in 2004, the highest sales of multipurpose industrial robots ever recorded and the second largest market for robotic installations, behind Japan but just ahead of Germany

European Market:
• 5-percent increase in sales of multipurpose industrial robots or 29,300 units
• 5-percent installation increase in the automotive industry, the most important European customer
• 72-percent surge in the chemical industry
• 22-percent rise in the machinery industry
• 24-percent upsweep in the food industry (More robots were installed in the food industry in Europe than in America and Asia combined.)

Robot prices fell sharply in the last decade, and approximately one robot per 10 workers exists in the motor vehicle industry. Corporations invest in robots to save costs, to increase productivity, to raise quality, to remain competitive in the global market, and to transfer dangerous and laborious work from man to machine. Think about that the next time you vacuum, mow the lawn or clean windows. The purchase of 4.5-million domestic robots, and 2.5-million toy and leisure robots is predicted. Will your family purchase a robot, or are they already among you?