By: Benchmark International
October 7, 2022

Industrial robotics is now critical across many sectors for the automation and manufacturing of many tasks, including loading, packaging, labeling, and inspection.  They are commonly used in the automobile and heavy engineering sectors and are becoming more common in many other sectors.  In the past, robots were mostly only used in the automotive and manufacturing industries, but more sectors are adopting them today  These sectors include defense, healthcare, aerospace, food & beverage, education, and electronics.  There is also an increase in demand for telesurgery and elder care, as well as bomb dispersal, monitoring, and mine detection.  There are currently around 2.7 million industrial robots in use worldwide, a number that is quickly rising.

These robots improve productivity and profitability for businesses by replacing laborious and repetitive tasks previously performed by people with automated efficiency and a high degree of accuracy.  They can also be used for a safer workplace, performing tasks in hazardous environments, vacuum chambers, and areas where there is the risk of dangers such as explosion or radiation.  Research shows that the use of robots saves companies up to around 20% in costs.  Robots are a large driving factor of the world’s newest industrial revolution, referred to as Industry 4.0.  It has been estimated that, by the year 2025, robots will displace 85 million jobs currently held by people.  But, at the same time, it’s also estimated that this change will open up 97 million jobs for workers.  Robots are often used for basic tasks in entry-level positions, which means that companies can create more high-level roles.  This is good news for younger workers, raising the level and pay at which they can enter the workplace and opening up more opportunities for creativity and management.

Surging market growth
The global robotics market was valued at $32.32 billion in 2021 and is forecast to reach $88.55 billion by 2030, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12.1%.  As the manufacturing and electronics sectors continue to see strong growth, it drives growth for the industrial robotics market.  Many industrial processes are being streamlined by the use of artificial intelligence-powered robots, as well as collaborative robots, and new technologies continue to evolve rapidly.  In the last five years, the surge in global demand for industrial robots has been unmistakable.  In 2021, the global industrial robot market volume was made up of 496,000 units.  Growth is being driven in the sector by automation that helps to boost productivity, improve quality, and cut down on errors.

The COVID-19 pandemic also accelerated the growth of the robotics industry due to a worker shortage.  Robots helped many manufacturers keep up with production peaks; at the same time, they were dealing with systemic shocks.  In fact, China’s industrial robotic production increased by a record high of 29% in the first half of 2020.

Challenges to market growth include high initial investment, maintenance costs, and compatibility issues.  There are also some safety and data privacy concerns.  At the same time, increased adoption of robotics for handling semiconductors is expected to open up opportunities for the industrial robotics market in the near future.

Players in the market are expected to vie for competitive dominance through strategic alliances, mergers and acquisitions, and innovations in R&D.

A significant growing trend in the robotics industry is the increasing use of collaborative robots, or “co-bots.”  Co-bots are designed to work alongside people, and they use safety-rated sensors that allow workers to safely share the work space with them.  There is also a steady rise in the use of underwater robotics, legged mobility, machine learning, and self-driving vehicles.  the market is expected to see growing adoption of micro-electromechanical systems, cloud robotics, and next-gen tech accessories, as well as more employment opportunities and robotic advancements.

There is also increasing development of new types of robots that offer simple setup and installation.  By removing any need for any special training in coding or programming, many of the barriers that previously prevented businesses from investing in robots are being removed.

Geographical Picture
North America currently leads the global industrial robotics market, with large-scale adoption in various industries, including entertainment, education, healthcare, and especially military defense.  The U.S. Department of Defense was given $7.5 billion to spend on robotics in 2021.  In the 3rd quarter of 2021, robot orders in the United States were up 35% compared to the same period in 2020.  More than half of the orders came from non-automotive sectors, representing a large change in traditional market trends.  The average robot density in the United States is 228 units per 10,000 employees.  In 2021, more than $17 billion was poured into VC-backed robotics startups.

The world’s top three robotics communities are all located in the U.S.: Boston, Massachusetts; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and Silicon Valley in California.  Pittsburgh is often referred to as the robotics capital of the world, home to more than 100 robotics companies.  Corporate and venture capital investors have put $4.3 billion into Pittsburgh robotics companies in the last five years alone.  The cities of Austin, Texas, and Denver, Colorado, are also emerging.  The country of Denmark is also making large strides in robotics.

The Asia-Pacific region is expected to see the fastest growth in market share due to the increasing  use of automation in Japan, China, and India, with China leading the market growth in this region to improve efficiency and industrial production.  Honda Motor is the largest robotics company in the world, with a revenue of $142.4 billion, employing nearly 220,000 people, and headquartered in Tokyo, Japan.