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Why service robots are booming worldwide

IFR forecasts sales up 12%

Oct 11, 2017 Frankfurt, Brussels Sales in service robots for professional use will increase 12 percent by the end of 2017 to a new record of 5.2 billion U.S. dollars. And the long-term forecast is positive too, with an expected average growth rate of 20 to 25 percent in the period 2018 - 2020.

“In terms of value, the sales forecast 2018-2020 indicates a cumulative volume of around 27 billion U.S. dollars for the professional service segment”, says Gudrun Litzenberger,
General Secretary of the IFR. “Robots for medical, logistics and field services are the most significant contributors.”

At the same time, the market for personal service robots which assist humans in their everyday lives is also progressingrapidly; it is projected that sales of all types of robots for domestic tasks –e.g. vacuum cleaning, lawn mowing or window cleaning - could reach an estimatedvalue of around 11 billion U.S. dollars (2018-2020).

“Robots are clearly on the rise, in manufacturing and increasingly in everyday environments”, says Martin Hägele, IFR Service Robot Group.” The growinginterest in service robotics is partly due to the variety and number of new start-ups which currently account for 29 percent of all robot companies. Further­more, large companies are increasingly investing in robotics, often through the acquisition of start-ups.”

Service robot manufacturers and start-ups by regions

European service robot manufacturers play an important role in the global market: about 290 out of the 700 registered companies supplying service robots come from Europe.North America ranks second with about 240 manufacturers and Asia third with about 130.

Further progress will rely on entrepreneurs taking up disruptive technologies and deploying them for new applications and markets. In the US, about 200 start-up companies are working on new service robots. The European Union plus Switzerland count 170 companies that are creating a new entrepreneurial culture for the service robotics industry - followed by Asia with 135 start-ups. Virtually all economies are attempting to foster a vibrant entrepreneurial environment and the service robotics industry has become one of the focus areas of their public policies.

Service robotics market overview

Robotics in professional applications has already had a significant impact in areas such as agriculture, surgery, logistics or public relations and is growing in economic importance. There is a growing demand to monitor our everyday surroundings which results in increased and difficult-to-manage workloads and data flows. To meet this demand, robots will play an even greater role in the maintenance, security and rescue markets.

Robotics in personal and domestic applications has experienced strong global growth with a limited number of mass-market products: floor cleaning robots, robo-mowers and
robots for edutainment. Future product visions point to domestic robots of higher sophistication, capability and value, such as assistive robots for supporting the elderly, for helping with household chores and for entertainment.

About World Robotics Reports by IFR

The IFR Statistical Department publishes two robotics studies each year:

World Robotics - Service Robots: This unique report provides global statistics on service robots, market analyses, case studies and international research strategies on service robots. The study is jointly prepared with our partner Fraunhofer IPA, Stuttgart.

World Robotics - Industrial Robots: This unique report provides global statistics on industrial robots in standardizedtables and enables national comparisons to be made. It contains statisticaldata from around 40 countries broken down into areas of application, industrialsectors, types of robots and other technical and economic aspects. Production,
export and import data is listed for selected countries. It also describes thetrends in relation to robotic density, e.g. the number of robots per 10,000 employees in relevant sectors.

Europe and North America home of most service robotics manufacturers

Europe and North America home of most service robotics manufacturers

Start-ups foster a vivid entrepreneurial culture around the globe
Start-ups foster a vivid entrepreneurial culture around the globe


Press contact

Carsten Heer, press@ifr.org

Further files are ready for download in the World Robotics section and robot pictures are available in our Newsroom

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Press Photos

UR5 - A highly flexible robot arm

© Universal Robots

Trelleborg uses UR5 robots (payload 5kg) to carry out machine tending mainly on CNC machines

UR3 - ultra-flexible table-top robot

© Universal Robots

MARKA uses UR3 robots (payload 3kg) to screw drive the caps on its own-brand consumer goods. Accuracy and reliability were the crucial factors for the investment.

Cheese Handling

© Staubli

Cutting and Handling of Cheese

Automotive

© Staubli

Automotives - Automation

Programming

© YASKAWA

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

Printing

© CoolGraphics/Yaskawa

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

Labrobot

© YASKAWA

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

Cleanfix

© BlueBotics 2017

Cleanfix - RA 660 - ANT driven cleaning a floor

ANT driven AGV

© BlueBotics 2017

AGV Scandinavia - ANT driven forklift

Contact IFR Germany

Gudrun Litzenberger

IFR General Secretary
IFR Statistical Department

Lyoner Str. 18
60528 Frankfurt am Main
Phone: +49 69-6603-1502
Fax: +49 69-6603-2502
E-Mail: gl@ifr.org

Nina Kutzbach

Assistant IFR Statistical Department

Lyoner Str. 18
60528 Frankfurt am Main
Phone: +49 69-6603-1518
Fax: +49 69-6603-2518
E-Mail: nk@ifr.org

Silke Lampe

Assistant IFR Secretariat

Lyoner Str. 18
60528 Frankfurt am Main
Phone: +49 69-6603-1697
Fax: +49 69-6603-2697
E-Mail: sl@ifr.org