Industrial Automation: Who’s Leading the Robot Race?

Industrial Automation: Who’s Leading the Robot Race?

The advent of industrial robotics has triggered a wave of automation that is progressively sweeping global industries. Countries using these robots in large numbers are likely to increase their productivity and reduce production costs.

With this in mind, the chart above from our sponsor MSCI ranks the top countries for industrial robot installations.

Data and highlights

This data was sourced from a 2022 report released by the International Federation of Robotics.

Village 2012 2015 2018 2021
China 23,000 69,000 115,000 268,000
Japan 29,000 35,000 55,000 47,000
WE 22,000 28,000 40,000 35,000
South Korea 19,000 38,000 38,000 31,000
Germany 18,000 20,000 27,000 24,000
Rest of the world 48,000 64,000 108,000 112,000

It might come as no surprise that China leads the world in industrial automation, given its prowess at mass production. Indeed, in 2021, China installed more industrial robots than all other countries in the world combined.

According to the IFR report, 56% of China’s installed robots in 2021 have been implemented automotive or electronics-related industries. The same trend can be observed in Japan, with 53% of its installations in 2021 also in these two sectors.

Installations in the Americas were more evenly distributed, with 36% dedicated to automotive and electronics. Other major sectors were metals and machinery (11%), plastics and chemicals (10%) and food (10%).

Robotics for the future

Falling birth rates and an aging baby boom generation suggest that many of the world’s largest economies will eventually experience labor shortages. This is evidenced by the constricting demographic pyramids of Japan, the USA, Europe and even China.

The IFR believes robotics can help solve this problem, not only in manufacturing but also in critical sectors such as agriculture and healthcare.

For example, robotics are expected to become more common in the operating room, where they can perform complex procedures with the help of artificial intelligence. The market for surgical robots is expected to expand 20 billion dollars by 2030, up from $4.4 billion in 2020.

Given the wide range of use cases, robotics and artificial intelligence are two technologies that could rapidly transform our world in the coming decades. Investors can get information with the MSCI ACWI IMI Robotics and Artificial Intelligence Indexwhich compares an investable universe of companies associated with automation.

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