You know we’re in a lot of trouble when the World Economic Forum sees fit to issue a dire warning about the future of global employment, forecasting that more than 5 million people will lose their jobs across 15 developed economies by 2020 as a direct result of robotics and automation technology.
It’s difficult to say whether WEF is being conservative in its estimate, but since it is considered the mouthpiece of the leaders of the world economy, it’s in its interests to try and calm people’s anxieties over the issue.
In its report, The Future of Jobs, WEF says: “The Fourth Industrial Revolution, which includes developments in previously disjointed fields such as artificial intelligence and machine-learning, robotics, nanotechnology, 3-D printing, and genetics and biotechnology, will cause widespread disruption not only to business models but also to labour markets over the next five years, with enormous change predicted in the skill sets needed to thrive in the new landscape.” Continue reading World Economic Forum warns of ‘widespread disruption’ to business by robots
Finding statistics on the install base of robots is not as straightforward as it might be, but RoboticsandAutomationNews.com has compiled its own list of available data and the bar chart below is the result.
Many well known companies are missing from the list and graph, but that’s because we could not find any credible and up to date figures for their install base.
We will of course try and persuade those companies to release that information to us so that we can provide a more complete picture of the market.
We’ve called this list “Top 9”, but that is based on available information.
Update:Fanuc claims to have sold 400,000 robots worldwide. That takes it from fourth on our previous list to first place in the new 2016 list. So, Fanuc is now the world’s largest maker of industrial robots according to the latest information we have. We will update the list as and when we get more information.
Update: Epson claims to have sold 10,000 more robots worldwide since our previous list. The company says it now has 55,000 industrial robots installed worldwide. Our previous list had their install base at 45,000 – this has now been updated (below).
Update:Comau says it has 30,000 robots installed worldwide. In exclusive comments to Robotics and Automation News, a senior executive at the Italian company provided the statistic as part of an extended interview. Our previous list did not include Comau as we could not find the data – this has now been updated (below).
Update 11 January 2018: Universal says it has sold an additional 10,000 units, bringing its total to 20,000.
Update: ABB says it has 300,000 robots installed worldwide, up from our previous number of 250,000. We have updated the list, and will update the pie chart at a later date. The new figure places ABB in joint-second place, along with Yaskawa, although our list shows ABB at number 3.
Update: Foxconn says it has installed 40,000 industrial robots in China, according to reports. We had not found this in official company documents, which is why we did not initially include it in the list for now. However, the report was in a reliable publication, so we have decided to include it.
Update: Stäubli is one of the original robot manufacturers, and still one of the largest. We estimate that the company has a large number of robots installed worldwide. However, in the absence of any available data, we have made our estimate as to how many robots the company has installed worldwide.