Robot density in the United States manufacturing industry reached 200 robots per 10,000 employees in 2017, according to the International Federation of Robotics. That number is an increase from 189 robots in 2016 and 176 robots in 2015.
Robot density is a measurement that tracks the number of robots per 10,000 workers in an industry. While the US ranks 7th in the world in robot density, it has quite a ways to go to catch up to The Republic of Korea (710) and Singapore (638) that continue to rank first and second worldwide.
Based on the IFR’s initial numbers, there were no changes to the order of the top seven countries with the highest robot density. All seven countries saw the number increase. Here’s how the countries performed in 2016 and 2017.
The IFR points out that the robot density in the US manufacturing industry is more than double that of China, which ranks 21st in the world with a robot density of 97.
The IFR, which will discuss robot density in more detail at Automate 2019 in Chicago, says the trend to automate production in both domestic and global markets is the main driving force of robot installations in the US. The general industry sector, particularly the food and beverage industry (+64%) and the plastic and chemical products industry (+30%), had the highest growth.
The IFR also recently reported that robots sales in the US reached a new record of nearly 38,000 units. The automotive sector is the most important customer for robots. The US car market is the second largest in the world after China.
Within the US automotive sector, part suppliers account for two thirds of installations as sales increased 9% between 2017-2018. However, according to the IFR, car manufacturers invested less in automation as installations went down by 26%. The average annual growth rate of robot sales to the US automotive industry between 2013 and 2018 was 7%. From a peak of 16,311 units in 2016, robot sales decreased by 5% from 15,400 units in 2017 to 14,600 units in 2018 – accounting for a share of 38% of total installations.
Robot density in the automotive industry increased by 52% between 2012 and 2017, from 790 to 1,200 industrial robots in operation per 10,000 employees.
The electronics industry was the second-most important customer in 2018 with a market share of 18% of the total supply. From 2013 to 2018, robot installations increased by 15% on average per year.
“The North American countries (United States, Canada, and Mexico) represent the second-largest operational stock of industrial robots in the world after China,” says Junji Tsuda, President of the International Federation of Robotics. “Whilst numerous important robot system integrators come from North America, most big robot manufacturers are based in Japan, Korea and Europe.”