Where the Robots Are

The global average for industrial robots is 74 per 10,000 manufacturing workers. Clearly, we’ve got the robots comfortably outnumbered.

Except that the global average doesn’t work that well in this case. The country with the largest concentration of industrial robots, South Korea, has 631 robots for every 10,000 workers.

The lowest number reported, in India, is three industrial robots in use for every 10,000 workers in manufacturing.

That’s an enormous difference.

Other top countries include Singapore with 488 and the close pair of Japan and Germany, with 303 and 309 respectively.

The United States is in the middle of the pack, with 189 industrial robots per 10,000 manufacturing employees. Italy is close, with 185.

China shows up surprisingly low on the list. There are just 83 industrial robots in service for every 10,000 people working in manufacturing in China. This is surprising, since China is the most voracious market for robots in the world. This apparent paradox shows up just because China’s population is so much larger than other countries. China has 1.379 billion people, compared with Italy’s 60.6 million.

The rise of the cobots

Increasing numbers of industrial robots are “cobots” — robots that can collaborate with workers.

At this point, collaboration mostly implies being able to share a space safely. Some of the smaller tasks in your factory could be handled by machines, reducing the need for a human worker to pack a box or add a condiment to a package of food. But it has until recently been too dangerous to mix up humans and machines. A robot would need to do the small job and then send the workpiece along on the conveyor belt to the next person or the next machine.

That meant that putting a machine to work on a small task between two human jobs would be impractical.

But a cobot, which can stand between two human coworkers, makes automation of that task possible. This, together with the reduced cost of industrial robots, is encouraging more manufacturers to take up automation.

If your automation includes Rexroth electric industrial motion control, we can help. Any service and support needs you have, from legacy parts to the latest iteration, we’re your first choice. Call today.


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