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Press Releases

Top 5 Robot Trends 2021

Robots learn new tricks and help to reduce carbon footprint

Frankfurt, Feb 17, 2021 — Annual installations of industrial robots more than tripled within ten years (2010-2019) reaching 381 thousand units in factories around the world. The International Federation of Robotics shows top 5 trends shaping industries around the globe.

“The mission to combine traditional production with ´go digital strategies´ puts robots in a pole position,” says Dr Susanne Bieller, General Secretary of the IFR.

Robots learn new tricks

Artificial intelligence software in combination with vision and other sensing systems, allow robots to master difficult tasks. One such task is bin picking, that in the past was only feasible for a human hand. New generations of robots are easier to install and program and they are connectable. Advances in communication protocols integrate robots seamlessly into automation and Industry 4.0 strategies.

Robots work in smart factories

The automotive industry pioneered smart factory solutions utilizing industrial robots throughout assembly lines that have dominated traditional automobile production for more than 100 years. The future belongs to networked interaction of robots and autonomous guided vehicles - or rather autonomous mobile robots (AMRs). Equipped with the latest navigation technology, these mobile robots are much more flexible compared to traditional production lines. Car bodies are conveyed on driverless transport systems. They can be decoupled from the assembly line flow and redirected to assembly stations where individually equipped variants can be assembled. When models are changed completely, it is only necessary to reprogram the robots and AMRs rather than to dismantle the entire production line. With the integration of human-robot collaboration workstations picking up momentum, robot suppliers report robots working hand-in-hand with humans without fencing.

LARA (Lightweight Agile robotic assistant) mounted on MAV (Multi-Sensing Autonomous vehicle) palletizing products © NEURA Robotics GmbH
LARA (Lightweight Agile robotic assistant) mounted on MAV (Multi-Sensing Autonomous vehicle) palletizing products © NEURA Robotics GmbH

Robots enter new markets

The connectivity breakthroughs contribute to increased robot adoption in manufacturing sectors that have only recently turned to automation, such as food and beverage, textiles, wood products and plastics. Ongoing digital transformation will lead to completely new business models, because producers can diversify more easily than ever. In the smart factory, different products are assembled subsequently by the same equipment - the traditional production line no longer exists.

Robots reduce carbon footprint

Investments in modern robot technology will also be driven by the requirement for a smaller carbon footprint. Modern robots are energy-efficient, thus directly reducing energy consumption of production. Through higher precision, they also produce fewer rejections and substandard goods, which has a positive impact on the ratio of resource input over output. In addition, robots help in the cost-efficient production of renewable energy equipment, such as photovoltaics or hydrogen fuel cells.

Robots help to secure supply chains

The pandemic situation has made the weakness of globalized supply chains visible. Manufacturers have the opportunity to rethink supply with a completely different outlook. When productivity is leveled through automation, manufacturers have increased flexibility that may not have been available in high-wage countries like most of the European Union, North America, Japan or the Republic of Korea. Robotic automation offers productivity, flexibility and security.

“Advances in robot technologies are contributing to increased robot adoption,” says Dr Susanne Bieller, General Secretary of the IFR. “The COVID-19 pandemic hasn`t started any new trends but it accelerated the use of robotics beyond established practice. In this respect, the pandemic has proven to be the biggest single driver for change in industry.”

For more trends on the global robotics market please check this website


Please find pictures and press release in German language for download below.

Press contact

International Federation of Robotics
Press Office
Carsten Heer
phone +49 (0) 40 822 44 284
E-Mail: [email protected]

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Press Photos

Car Measurement


Turn-key complete cell MANTIS with Yaskawa handling robot enables measurement of a car side door in a matter of minutes.

Collaborative Robot Programming

© Photoneo

Programming and working with a collaborative robot.

Robot Vision

© Photoneo

Adjustments on an industrial robot and the vision system

Robot getting Eyes

© Photoneo

Mechanic setting up the vision system on an industrial robot.

Aluminum Welding

© OTC Daihen

Robot twin system of two robots and a positioner - fully automated aluminum welding with high-speed welding process AC/MIG.

Aluminum Work


The HSD electrospindles are used for robotic milling applications on aluminum frames.

Marble Work


HSD electrospindles working even on rigid surfaces like marble.

Milling Application


The HSD electrospindles are used for robotic milling applications

Total Freedom of Movement - 7 Axis

© Duerr

The robot with a seven axis reaches every spot in the car body. This can eliminate the need for a linear displacement rail.

Overspray-free Paint Application

© Duerr

EcoPaintJet is an innovative system for automated, highly defined paint application without any overspray.

Sealing Application

© Duerr

Robot EcoRS 30L16S with shortened arm 1 is particularly suitable for sealing applications inside car bodies.



Automous mobile robots safely and efficiently transport different payloads in manufacturing and warehouse logistics operations.

Cobot Application


Collaborative robots can work side-by-side with humans in many applications, e.g. closing CNC machine.

Scara Production Line


Seamless integration of robots and machine control allows flexible manufacturing of fixed industrial robots



YASKAWA robots assemble robots for automation of the factory

Digital Supply Chain


The body-in-white plant KUKA Toledo Production Operations set new milestone in terms of digital supply chain and Industrie 4.0.

Soft Hand Gripper

© qbrobotics srl

SoftHand grasping a trolley handle with ability changing the angle of the wrist

Food Packaging

© OnRobot

Heavy and monotone tasks can be taken from the employees with a collaborative robot and special gripper.


© OnRobot

The OnRobot RG6 gripper is changing tests quickly by simply clipping and unclipping at L'Oréal.

Primary Packaging

© OnRobot

Two sets of dual gripper stack plastic molded containers, making them ready for packaging.

Smart Production


Smart Production in a factory

Cobot mounted on AMR

© NEURA Robotics GmbH

LARA (Lightweight Agile robotic assistant) mounted on MAV (Multi-Sensing Autonomous vehicle) palletizing products

Wire Cutting


A FANUC Robot LR Mate 200iD is loading a WireCut EDM machine

Collaborative Robot


YUMI is ABB's collaborative robot on the market

Electronics industry


Robots at assembly line in the electronics industry

Automotive welding


Robots welding car chassis in the automotive industry

Automotive welding


Robots welding parts in the automotive industry

UR5 - A highly flexible robot arm

© Universal Robots

UR5 robots (payload 5kg) carry out machine tending on CNC machines

UR3 - ultra-flexible table-top robot

© Universal Robots

UR3 robots (payload 3kg) to screw drive the caps on consumer goods at MARKA.

Cheese Handling

© Staubli

Cutting and Handling of Cheese


© Staubli

Automotives - Automation



Using the teach pendant for programming, or touch up of previously made offline programs.


© CoolGraphics/Yaskawa

MOTOMAN dual arm robot in a co‐worker robot cell separates, airs and moves stacks of printed paper sheets.



The MOTOMAN dual arm robot in a biomedical cell where it performs all the necessary tasks in a laboratory environment.


© BlueBotics 2017

Cleanfix - RA 660 - ANT driven cleaning a floor

ANT driven AGV

© BlueBotics 2017

AGV Scandinavia - ANT driven forklift

Press Contact IFR

Carsten Heer

IFR Press Inquiries

Phone: +49 40-822 44 284
E-Mail: press(at)ifr.org

Dr. Susanne Bieller

IFR General Secretary

Lyoner Str. 18
DE-60528 Frankfurt am Main
Phone: +49 69-6603-1502
E-Mail: secretariat(at)ifr.org