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2011: The most successful year for industrial robots since 1961
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High potential for robot installations in many countries

When comparing the distribution of multipurpose industrial robots in various countries, the robot stock, expressed in the total number of units, can sometimes be a misleading measure. In order to take into account the differences in the size of the manufacturing industry in various countries, it is preferable to use a measure of robot density. One such measure of robot density is the number of multipurpose industrial robots per 10,000 persons employed in manufacturing industry or in the automotive industry or in the "general industry" (which is all industries excluding the automotive industry).
In 2011, the Republic of Korea reached the highest robot density in the world. Per 10,000 employees 347 industrial robots were in operation. The reason is the continued large volume of robot installations in the recent years. The robot density in Japan increased to 339, that of Germany to 261.
10 countries of the 45 surveyed countries have a robot density between 104 (Austria) and 149 (Italy), 5 countries from 50 to 100, 11 countries from 20 to 49 and all others have less than 20 robots in operation per 10,000 employees in the manufacturing industry. The estimated average robot density in the world is about 55 industrial robots in operation per 10,000 employees in manufacturing industry.
The considerable high rate of automation of the automotive industry compared to all other sectors is demonstrated in the evaluation of the number of industrial robots in operation per 10,000 employees in automotive industry and in all other industries. Japan has by far the highest robot density in the automotive industry. 1,584 industrial robots are installed per 10,000 persons employed in the automotive industry, and 221 are installed in all other industries. In Germany 1,176 robots per 10,000 employees were installed in the automotive industry. But in all other German industries the robot density is at 137 units, which is significant compared to other countries. Only Japan and the Republic of Korea had a higher rate, 221 and 261 respectively. These higher rates are mainly due to robot installations in the electronics industry. The comparatively high rate in Germany is due to a more diversified distribution of industrial robots in all industries. Regarding the robot density in the automotive industry, Italy ranked second with a robot density of 1,215 units, down from 1,229 in 2010. In other sectors the robot density was 113 robots operating per 10,000 employees in 2011. In 2011, 1,104 industrial robots per 10,000 employees were installed in the automotive industry in the United States, but only 72 units were installed in all the other sectors.
In China, the huge robot investments in the recent years resulted in a substantial increase in the robot density of the automotive industry. Between 2006 and 2011, it was up from 36 to 141 robots per 10,000 employees. All other sectors also increased robot installations but the robot density rate is only about 10 robots installed per 10,000 employees.
The overall conclusion indicates that in almost all the surveyed countries, not only the potential for robot installations in the non-automotive industries is still tremendous, but it is also considerably high in the automotive industry among the emerging markets and in some traditional markets as well. This is mostly due to the necessary modernization and retooling that is needed in these markets.
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