Findings from the World Robotics Report 2018, published by the International Federation of Robotics (IFR), show China saw the largest growth in demand for industrial robots (up 58%), while sales in the USA increased by 6% and in Germany by 8%, compared to the previous year.
Broken down by industry, the automotive industry continues to lead global demand for industrial robots: In 2017, around 125,200 units were sold in this segment - equivalent to growth of 21%.
The strongest growth sectors in 2017 were the metal industry (+54%), the electrical/electronics industry (+27%) and the food industry (+19%).
And, in terms of sales volume, Asia has the strongest individual markets: China installed around 138,000 industrial robots in 2017, followed by South Korea with around 40,000 units and Japan with around 38,000 units.
Meanwhile, in the Americas, the USA is the largest single market with around 33,000 industrial robots sold, and in Europe it is Germany with around 22,000 units sold.
Says IFR president Junji Tsuda: "The growth of industrial robots continues at an impressive pace worldwide. Key trends such as digitalisation, simplification and human-robot collaboration will certainly shape the future and drive forward rapid development."