World Robot Population Reaches 8.6 Million

The world robot population has reached 8.6 million. This is an estimate and most likely it is a lot higher than that. The 8.6 million estimate is based on data from the latest edition of Globe Robotic prepared annually by good folks at the International Federation of Robotics. The report came out late last year and refers to the robot market up to the end of 2008.

The study divides robots in two categories, industrial robots and support robots. Industrial robots includes welding techniques, assembly manipulators, silicon wafer handlers. Service 'bots consists of two subcategories: expert support robots such as bomb disposal bots or surgical techniques. Service robots include individual servicerobots like vacuum cleaners, lawn mowers, hobby robot kits and toys.


Some Stats on Industrial Robots

- According to the statement, 2008 sales reached 113,000 models, which is about the same as the previous year. It's a weak result, and the culprit, as you might have guessed, is the global economic meltdown.

- Of the 2008 robot product sales, more than half, or about 60,300 models, went to Asian countries. The world's largest marketplace, Japan, continues to see a decline, with supply falling by 8 % to about 33,100 models. But Korea and emerging markets like China and also the Southeast Asian countries and India saw increases in sales, with Korea adding 11,600 robots, up 28 % from 2007, China adding 7,900 models, an increase of 20 %, and Taiwan's robot acquisitions surging by 40 %.

- In the Americas, the robot market grew by 17,200 models, or 12 percent much less than in 2007. Auto business, the primary robot buyer, retreated and robot product sales plunged.

- Robot sales in Europe stagnated at about 35,100 models, with Germany taking the lead, adding 15,200 robots, 4 % more than in 2007. Italy, Europe's second largest marketplace after Germany, added 4,800 models and France, 2,600 robots.

- So the total of industrial robots in 2008? First, a number that I hadn't seen before. The report says that "total accumulated yearly sales, measured since the introduction of industrial robots in industry at the end of 1960s, amounted to more than 1,970,000 models at the end of 2008." That's basically the total of industrial robots offered in the globe. Ever. Cool! So to get the total of industrial robots in operation you require to remove the ones that have been taken out of service. Individuals use various statistical models to do that, arriving at various numbers. The Globe Robotics statement gives an estimate between 1,036,000 and 1,300,000 units.

- Still according to the statement, globe industrial robot sales amounted to about US $6.2 billion in 2008. But this amount doesn't consist of cost of software, peripherals, and system Should you were to add that up, the marketplace would be some three times larger, or around $19 billion.


Some Stats on Support Robots

- First, some more nomenclature. The World Robotics report differentiates among two kinds of service robots: support robots for expert use and support robots for individual use. That's because the individual ones are sold for a lot much less and are mass produced.

- According to the report, 63,000 service robots for expert use had been offered in 2008, a market valued at $11.2 billion.

- A breakdown by application: 30 percent (20,000 models) for defense, security, and rescue applications; 23 percent for milking robots; 9 % for cleaning robots; 8 percent each for medical and underwater robots; 7 percent for construction and demolition robots; 6 % for robot platforms for general use; and 5 percent for logistic systems.

- As for service robots for individual use: 4.4 million models sold for home applications, such as vacuuming and lawn mowing, and about 2.8 million for entertainment and leisure.

- And here's an eye opening number: In 2008 alone about 940,000 vacuum cleaning robots had been sold, nearly 50 percent more than in 2007. That's 1 million new living rooms getting cleaned by robots!

- The report estimates that 49,000 professional support robots and 11.6 million individual service robots will be sold between 2009 and 2012.


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