Global robotics market showed strength during 2010

New analysis from Frost and Sullivan, Strategic finds that the market earned revenues of $1437.9 million in 2009 and estimates this to reach $2969.3 million in 2016.


The global robotics market experienced huge declines in 2009 as revenues across all end-user industries plummeted. Bailout packages from the governments were needed to prop up the automotive industry in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) and the Americas.

Signs of recovery began to emerge in the fourth quarter of 2009, led by emerging markets in Asian countries such as China and India. A marginal increase in welding robot orders was experienced in EMEA and Americas in 2010 and steady growth is expected to continue over the coming years. New analysis from Frost and Sullivan, Strategic finds that the market earned revenues of $1437.9 million in 2009 and estimates this to reach $2969.3 million in 2016.

“A demand upswing for robot welding from the automotive industry is expected in the wake of higher vehicle uptake in countries such as India and China in the APAC region,” said Frost and Sullivan Industry Analyst Archana Chauhan. “The APAC region is likely to experience a higher growth rate in the short term due to a faster rebound from the lows seen in 2009.”

The benefits of accuracy and repeatability of welding robots make them an attractive choice for the automation of welding processes in several end-user industries, particularly the automotive industry. Robots can help decrease cycle time; hence, are preferred for mass production. The potential for higher penetration of welding robots, in the metal processing, heavy machinery, shipbuilding, and process industries, would ramp up investments in welding robotics.

The advent of vision tracking systems has enabled the continuous monitoring and control of the welding parameters throughout the process. Manufacturers across the globe are integrating 3D vision systems into arc welding robots. The revenues from arc welding robots are poised for a spike over the long term as they penetrate more into the general industry, where manual welding is being increasingly replaced by robotic welding.

Maintaining profit margins at a time of declining welding robot prices is a major challenge for robot manufacturers worldwide. Price is increasingly becoming the foremost criterion for customers to choose a welding robot, as they try to reduce capital expenditure. The suppliers in this market need to have greater collaboration with system integrators and provide customized solutions in sync with the requirements of end users.

The market has witnessed several partnerships of robot manufacturers with power source suppliers to enhance the compatibility of the different components in a robotic welding solution. Manufacturers must roll out flexible and adaptive robots that are suitable for mixed and multi-purpose production lines. Value-added services and functionality would be the key differentiators. Manufacturers also need to be operationally efficient to cope with the downtrend in robot prices.

“Training workshops and fairs would raise awareness of the benefits of robotic welding among small scale manufacturers,” said Chauhan. “Technology upgrades in terms of software, user interface of teach pendants, and logging weld parameters would also help suppliers in expanding their customer base.”

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