The automotive industry is the sector with the largest number of robots employed in factories worldwide. The International Federation of Robotics reports a new record: about one million units. This quantity corresponds to about a third of the total number of robots installed in all industrial sectors.
The automotive industry, an early promoter of automated manufacturing, is using robots to ease the transition from combustion engines to electric power.
The world ranking
The level of automation of countries engaged in vehicle manufacturing can be measured by robot density. Compared to 2021 data, the Republic of Korea ranks first, with 2,867 industrial robots per 10,000 employees. The silver medal goes to Germany (1500 units), followed by the United States (1457 units) and Japan (1422 units).
China, the world’s largest car manufacturer, is closing the gap with rival nations. New robot installations in the Chinese automotive industry nearly doubled to 61,598 units in 2021, or 52% of plant installations worldwide for that year.
Political and industrial commitments
The automotive industry is managing the changes to long-established manufacturing methods and technologies thanks to robotic automation.
This dynamic is influenced by political agendas, motivated to stop the introduction of cars and vans with internal combustion engines and to promote the adoption of electric or hybrid vehicles.
Most automotive manufacturers are now investing in collaborative applications for final assembly and finishing tasks. At the same time, robots are becoming smaller, cheaper, and more adaptable, characteristics that favor their adoption by SMEs, which are generally slower to automate their processes.