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.
More and more robots are becoming more autonomous all the time. Now Lockheed Martin has completed a demo mission with two completely autonomous robotic vehicles performing resupply, reconnaissance, surveillance, and target acquisition.
Producing high-quality end-production metal parts with additive manufacturing for applications like aerospace and medical requires very tightly controlled processes and materials. New standards and guidelines for machines and processes, materials, and printed parts are underway from bodies such as ASTM International.
Although plastics make up only about 11% of all US municipal solid waste, many are actually more energy-dense than coal. Converting these non-recycled plastics into energy with existing technologies could reduce US coal consumption, as well as boost domestic energy reserves, says a new study.
This year's Dupont-sponsored WardsAuto survey of automotive designers and other engineers shows lightweighting dominates the discussion. But which materials will help them meet the 2025 CAFE standards are not entirely clear.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.