Design Engineering

Auto industry installs half of all industrial robots


Automation Automotive NAFTA

Car makers install one fourth of the units with the greatest demand found in the supply industry.

When it comes to automation, the U.S. economy is a global powerhouse. According to the International Federation of Robotics (IFR), industrial robots sold will rise by five percent annually to approximately 31,000 by 2018. What is more, about half will be installed by car makers and suppliers.

According to the IFR, the U.S. auto industry installs 1,141 industrial robots per 10,000 employees. The U.S. ranks third highest robotic density next to Germany (1,149 units) and Japan (1,414 units).

Auto Industry robotic densityWithin the NAFTA region (U.S., Canada and Mexico), the auto industry is demonstrating an extremely fast rate of modernization; 55 percent of the total demand for industrial robots comes from the auto sector.

The report states that a quarter of robotic units are installed by car makers with the greatest demand found in the supply industry.


Over the last five years, there has been an intense push towards automation due to expanding investment in technical renewal of domestic manufacturing, limiting the need for offshoring while improving competitiveness.

This is enabling car manufacturers and suppliers in the U.S. to supply the world’s largest domestic market and to produce the greatest number of cars and light commercial vehicles after China.

Auto industry robotics fanucThe IFR puts an annual growth rate of investment in industrial robotics within the NAFTA region at approximately 40, with demand and growth expecting to rise.

According to the IFR, automotive suppliers are investing in industrial robots due to new quality standards, more energy efficient production and new materials.

“Clearly the Automotive industry continues to drive innovation in the automation arena and need for optimization, quality, adaptability and flexibility,” says Joe Gemma, President of the International Federation of Robotics. “The need from the OEMs has filtered down to the supplier base to work on improved quality, flexibility and process optimization fostering the requirement for automation technologies to meet the demands as well as quicker deliveries and adapting to a dynamic environment.”


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