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China to be main source of global growth in industrial robot, says Digitimes Research
Hana Hu, DIGITIMES Research, Taipei

The China market will become the main source of growth in global demand for industrial robots. There were 380,600 industrial robots sold globally in 2017, growing 29% on year, with 138,000 or 36.3% of them shipping to China, hiking 58% on year, according to the International Federation of Robotics.

In China, only 68 industrial robots were used per 10,000 workers in 2017, with the density much lower than South Korea (631), Singapore (483), Germany (309) in Germany and the global average (74), implying there is huge growth potential for industrial robots in China, Digitimes Research believes.

Controllers, servo-motors and decelerators are three main components accounting for 60-70% of total production cost for industrial robots. Switzerland-based ABB, Germany-based Kuka and Japan-based Fanuc and Yaskawa Electric are the globally top-4 industrial robot vendors and they all develop controllers in house.

Japan-based Nabtesco and Harmonic Drive Systems are two main makers of decelerators used in industrial robots, with global market shares of 60% and 15% respectively.

ABB, Kuka, Fanuc and Yaskawa Electric have set up in-house-developed IoT (Internet of Things) platforms to collect data from web-connected robotic arms for big data analysis and integrated robotic arms with sensing and vision technologies in a bid to develop collaborative robotics.

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