Robot installations hit record number in 2023

1 min read

New research from the International Federation of Robotics has shown that the stock of installed robots hit 3.5 million units in 2023.

That’s a new global record and those installations are said to be worth almost $16bn. According to Marina Bill, President of the IFR, several trends in robotics are attracting new users from SMEs to global manufacturers.

Critically, energy efficiency is key as robotics help in many ways to lower energy consumption in manufacturing as their ability to work at high-speed means that manufacturing becomes more time- and energy-efficient. Today’s robots are also designed to consume less energy, which is reducing operating costs.

Resilience is also an important driver when it comes to reshoring and developing shorter supply lines and more manufacturers are using robots and automation in their manufacturing processes.

Robot programming is now easier and more accessible to non-experts and easy-to-use software paired with an intuitive user experience is helping to open up new robotics automation opportunities.

Software start-ups are, for example, entering this market with specialised solutions for the needs of small and medium-sized companies. A traditional heavy-weight industrial robot can now be equipped with sensors and new software that allows collaborative setup operation so making it easier for workers to adjust heavy machinery to different tasks.

Both AI and digital automation mean that robots are now more connected delivering greater speed and quality.

Another trend identified by the research was that since an industrial robot has a service lifetime of up to thirty years, there’s a chance to give old robots a “second life”. Industrial robot manufacturers now run specialised repair centres to refurbish, or upgrade used units in a resource-efficient way as part of a prepare-to-repair strategy.

All of these trends show how the robotic space is developing at pace and how robots and automation are combining to completely transform manufacturing.