Frequent application of robots in the area of arc and spot welding especially was introduced only later on. This application makes up one third of all industrial robot applications. Other technological operations like spraying, cutting, drilling, milling, grinding, polishing and other kind of solid material machining followed suit. Robotic assembly has been winning recognition recently although this operation is relatively complex and typically requires implementation of sensors replacing human touch. It is also necessary to mention the use of mobile robots for transportation of components and products between warehouses and production facilities. These robots are succeeding also in the logistics industry.
It is not surprising that more than one third of all robots are used in the automotive industry. They are commonly applied in production of electronics and home appliances, processing of metal, plastics or rubber and also in chemical and food production. Clothing and footwear industries are only minimally robotized.
Skilled hands of women with an eye for detail working for low wages in developing countries still beat robots in manipulation with textile and leather.
The number of robots per manufacturing workers reveals an interesting statistics. Japan has the highest ratio, followed by Singapore, South Korea, Germany, Sweden, Italy and other developed industrial countries. On the other hand in countries with low cost of labor the use of robots is still in diapers. This status quo can however change at any time. Significant manufacturers on the Chinese market announced their near future plans to launch robots in production and assembly.
Total amount of industrial robots in manufacturing continues to rise at a moderate path although the number of robots used in other industries is increasing much more rapidly. This means the share of industrial robotics within the global robot market will long term decrease dramatically. We witness a rapid surge of robot applications in healthcare and public sectors and in households as well. Numbers of robots used for military and security purposes, in agriculture or for the purpose of monitoring weather and environment are certainly not negligible.
Prof. Ing. Peter Hubinský, PhD.