Industrial robots can now do their work uninterrupted thanks to the cloud and offline programming

fanuc industrial robot

Industrial robots are increasingly being connected to the cloud, where they can be managed centrally in some sort of control room, which means that a small number of human staff could theoretically manage hundreds, if not thousands, of machines.

Previously they were almost always operated in isolated circumstances within factories, inside a work cell, fenced off from human workers because of safety concerns. They were programmed individually, using a teach pendant, which is like a 20-years-out-of-date oversized mobile phone.

The teach pendant is still used for refinements and modifications after the machine goes online, into work, but nowadays most industrial robots are prepared for a life of work using offline programming. Continue reading Industrial robots can now do their work uninterrupted thanks to the cloud and offline programming

Alnea updates robot soldering system

kuka agilus alnea
The Kuka KR Agilus small robot in the ALNEA solution results in a significant increase in productivity

Alnea says its new robot-based soldering process is in compliance with international standards.

The soldering process used in so-called through-hole technology (THT) requires the utmost precision. The small structures and the close proximity of components that must not be wetted leave no room for error.

With THT, repair processes are time- and cost-intensive, often not reproducible and in some cases not even allowed.

“A reliably controlled selective soldering process is the decisive first step on the path to zero-error production for our customers,” says Krzysztof Kamiński, president of Alnea. Continue reading Alnea updates robot soldering system

ATS wins $100m automation deal

ATS Automation Tooling Systems building
ATS Automation Tooling Systems building

ATS Automation Tooling Systems has received an enterprise order from a company which it would only describe as “a North American-based customer that is a global leader in its market”.

ATS adds that it has provided core manufacturing solutions to the customer for a number of years.

The “Order Booking” is valued at approximately $100 million and involves delivery and installation of systems at several locations that will enable the customer to roll out a new global product. Continue reading ATS wins $100m automation deal

Locus Robotics prepares to transform logistics industry with new automation system

locus-robot

Automation in logistics is not new, having first emerged some 30 years ago, but back then it wasn’t as widely utilised as one might imagine, probably because of the large investment required.

But even if you could afford it back then, nowadays with the new robotics and automation technologies available, what can be done with a logistics centre is way beyond what was possible in the past.

Estimates vary on how much more efficient an intelligent warehouse can be, but it’s generally accepted that the savings in costs and time which can be achieved by using robots and automated systems are significant. Continue reading Locus Robotics prepares to transform logistics industry with new automation system

Siemens provides close-up view of its electronics manufacturing plant, where the lines between human and robot workers are blurred

siemens robotic electronics factory
Picture: At Siemens’ Electronics Manufacturing Plant in Erlangen, Germany, the company has devised new concepts for highly flexible manufacturing systems using lightweight robots and 3D printers.

Simulation, 3D printing, lightweight robots – these are some of the innovative technologies driving the Fourth Industrial Revolution – or Industry 4.0. And they are already a reality at Siemens’ Electronics Manufacturing Plant in Erlangen, Germany. A key reason for the success of this plant is that people and machines work hand in hand.

siemens robotic electronics factory
Employees at Siemens’ Electronics Manufacturing Plant in Erlangen have the freedom to try out innovative ideas and turn them into successful projects.

Schorsch assembles small converters. Hannes does the big ones; he inserts a fan and a heat sink in the housing and fastens them with four screws – several hundred times a day. When Hannes takes a break, Schorsch keeps on working unwaveringly.

When Hannes goes home, Schorsch goes on working. Hannes is a temporary factory worker. Schorsch is a lightweight robot. Continue reading Siemens provides close-up view of its electronics manufacturing plant, where the lines between human and robot workers are blurred

Industrial robots: Fanuc sells record-breaking 400,000 robots worldwide

FANUC 35iA, collaborative robot
The Fanuc CR-35iA is the industry’s first 35 kg payload force limited collaborative robot

Fanuc has set a new world record for production of over 400,000 robots.

“Over the last several years, there’s been an increasing global demand to implement the latest technologies in factories,” said Mike Cicco, vice president, Fanuc America.

“This demand has stimulated production of industrial robots in general, and has played a major role in Fanuc achieving this milestone, and maintaining our position as the world’s number one supplier of factory automation and industrial robots.” Continue reading Industrial robots: Fanuc sells record-breaking 400,000 robots worldwide

Top 14 industrial robot companies and how many robots they have around the world

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: Universal Robots says it has installed 10,000 of its collaborative industrial robots worldwide.

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: Mitsubishi Robotics says it has 70,000 industrial robots installed worldwide, which makes it number 8 in our list. The parent company is going through some interesting times, after a $2.3 billion capital injection, and reports that it is preparing to triple its executive pay.

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.

Update: Denso reveals it has a total of 95,000 robots installed.

Update 11 January 2018: Yaskawa says it currently has more than 360,000 industrial robots installed worldwide, which is 60,000 more than we had previously reported, so we have updated the list below.

Top robot companies in the world – robot install base worldwide

  1. Fanuc – 400,000
  2. Yaskawa – 360,000
  3. ABB – 300,000
  4. Kawasaki – 110,000
  5. Nachi – 100,000
  6. Denso – 95,000
  7. Kuka – 80,000
  8. Mitsubishi – 70,000
  9. Epson – 55,000
  10. Stäubli – 45,000
  11. Foxconn – 40,000
  12. Comau – 30,000
  13. Omron / Adept – 25,000
  14. Universal – 20,000

Source: RoboticsAndAutomationNews.com

If new information becomes available, we would be happy to make additions and corrections if appropriate.

We recently found out that Nachi Robotics has a substantial number of industrial robots installed worldwide, which is why we have included it in the list.

We would very much welcome any information that will help us add more companies and more stats to the list.

 

Robot density: Top 10 countries with most industrial robots for every 10,000 people employed in manufacturing

According to the IFR, the 10 countries with the highest number of industrial robots for every 10,000 people employed in manufacturing are:

  1. South Korea, 347
  2. Japan, 339
  3. Germany, 261
  4. Italy, 159
  5. Sweden, 157
  6. Denmark, 145
  7. United States, 135
  8. Spain, 131
  9. Finland, 130
  10. Taiwan, 129

Source: International Federation of Robots