The International Federation of Robotics reports that global sales of industrial robots decreased by 4% in 2012 over 2011. Electrical/electronics manufacturing took the biggest hit: it was down by 13%. Compared to the crash a few years ago this is still good news for the industry, and most manufacturing sectors rose slightly.
(Source: International Federation of Robotics)
Thanks Ann for such an interesting post the figures are really eye capturing I totally agree that the demand for robots have never been constant it varries from time to time or era to era in other words we can say it is cyclic.
It is indeed very interesting change of trends. Few days back i was reading this article about Toyota's future manufacturing plans, and they are looking to replace machines with humans. I was very intrigued by this idea, as mostly the trend is other way around. Anyhow, if you look at the statistics of annual shipments from 1994 - 2013, you will see that there was never an ever-increasing trend in the robots. There are always ups and downs in the sales of robots, and as the technology grows in the coming years, the demands will undoubtedly rise.
Liz, I agree that would make sense on the surface. But the demand is somewhat cyclic over periods longer than a year. It's dependent on manufacturing cycles and when things like car models change and tooling up/retooling for same also changes. In other words, demand, not available supply. We've all become used to the electronics demand/supply cycles, which are 1 year or less, but that's only one manufacturing sector--and the one that took the biggest hit.
A tiny humanoid robot has safely piloted a small plane all the way from cold start to takeoff, landing and coming to a full stop on the plane's designated runway. Yes, it happened in a pilot training simulation -- but the research team isn't far away from doing it in the real world.
Some in the US have welcomed 3D printing for boosting local economies and bringing some offshored manufacturing back onshore. Meanwhile, China is wielding its power of numbers, and its very different relationships between government, education, and industry, to kickstart a homegrown industry.
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