Industrial robotics industry in the US to reach US$7.42 B by 2025

By 2025, the market value of industrial robotics in the US is expected to reach $7.42 billion at a CAGR of 10% during 2019-2025 period.

  • Definition / Scope
  • Market Overview
  • Market Risks
  • Market Trends
  • Technology Trends
  • Pricing Trends
  • Regulatory Trends
  • Other Key Market Trends
  • Market Size and Forecast
  • Market Outlook
  • Technology Roadmap
  • Competitive Landscape
  • Competitive Factors
  • Key Market Players
  • Strategic Conclusion
  • References

Definition / Scope

  • A robot is a device comprised of computer and is capable of reprogramming, multifunctioning and manipulating which is designed to move material, parts, tools or specialized devices with the support of variable programmed motions for a number of tasks. 
  • A robot is mostly comprised of gripper (hand) attached to an arm supported on base and controlled by a computer or CPU. Most of the robots that used compressed air as a prime mover are usually light in weight, low in price and capable of relatively fast movements. 
  • The industrial robots using compressed air technology to operate are mostly utilized for pick and place operations. Another type of robot is run by hydraulic fluids also driven by air but are stronger and more complex to build. However, robots build with electric motor processors are of greatest strength, most expensive to produce. 
  • Finally, all robot manipulators mostly exist around four major arm configurations: Cartesian (or rectangular), cylindrical, polar or spherical, and articulated or jointed spherical. 
    • Articulated manipulators: They are the ones that resemble human arms and are capable of flexing their wrists, elbows, shoulders and are suited to reach small and difficult locations.
    • Cylindrical: It consists of center-mounting post with an extended arm and is capable of a perpendicular movement toward and away from the post and of being rotated and moved up and down
    • Polar: It helps provide tilt movement above and below the mounting level and
    • Cartesian: It is further built with three different tracks: one to control the height, one to control depth and other the width. It helps in providing high level of accuracy and repeatability but is comparatively slow in operation.
  • The robotics can further be divided into industrial and non-industrial segments. The report focuses on the industrial aspect of the robotics technology. The major sub-sectors of the industrial robotics are: 
    • Automobile manufacturing robots: Robots were initially used for welding and painting whereas more recently they are utilized for application such as windshield and seat and engine block installation
    • Electrical/Electronic Appliance Manufacturing robots: The 2D and 3D technologies are used to guide robots to locate parts correctly increasing efficiency of robots. With robots, the industry is able to reduce breakage in assembling parts and lead to more quality production.
    • Cargo/Transportation robots: These are also described as Personal Intelligent transportation system. The robots are made of ropits which are tiny single seat autonomous vehicle meant to travel on sidewalks. The vehicle is enabled with GPS system that allows it to find location and relies on camera and 3D sensors to avoid obstacles on the way.
    • Palletizing & Take Out robots: The workspace in which the robot operates is often called “cell”. The packages which are arranged in the cell are ready to be picked up and the robot palletizes them. The palletizing robot is chosen based on features such as required speed, maximum weight, size of the packages.

Market Overview

73% of the annual industrial robotics sales in the world is accounted by five major economies: China, Japan, South Korea, US and Germany respectively. 

According to the region, the strongest growth market for the robotics is Asia where about 298,150 units of industrial robots were sold in 2018 followed by Europe with 66,259 units and Americas being the third largest region with supply of 44,330 industrial robotics respectively. 

Further, the total robotics installation in the country is expected to rise at a CAGR of 10% during the 2019-2021 period while 13% CAGR is forecasted for the entire North America region. By 2021, US is expected to have supply of around 46,000 industrial robotics. 

US is the fourth largest robotics market in the world that accounted almost 74.8% the total robotics supply of the North American region. In 2018 the total industrial robotic installations in the country reached new heights (35,000 units) i.e. 6% higher than 2017. The major driver of the robotic technology in the country is also the growth of smart manufacturing industry. 

In the US, the annual imports of the robotics ranges around $750.6 million which is 21.4% of the total value of US robotics. Most of the robots are imported from Europe and Japan. The total exports on other hand range around $494.1 million which is nearly 50% less than imports of industrial robotics in the country. 

Market Risks

In the US, manufacturing industry is facing some serious crisis. The industry is expected to face a gap of two million workers between 2019 and 2025. The overall industry will need to reinvent itself by creating new jobs with new skills.

In addition, risks are caused by the rise in automation, use of sensors and collaborative robots in production process including reputation risks caused by product defects and labor injuries. As manufacturing of different countries become globally unified, cyber-attacks exposures are likely to follow. 

Automation has its own risks such as technical failure that has the capacity to turn down the entire assembly line in a factory. The technologically advanced machines would also need skilled workers to operate and maintain them. Thus, their absence can lead to hazardous situation inside the factory (in case any non-skilled worker) operates machines.

Cobots are another type of robots that work in collaboration with the humans, the risk with cobots is that they can cause bodily injury to their human collaborators. These cobots also share physical workspace and interact with humans. Some factories also have cobots that are outside safety cages and exposed to hazardous contact. 

Another trend that is prevalent in robotics is the use of cloud to control and collect data from industrial control systems. This in turn could leave manufacturers exposed to hacking. With advancement of cloud technology in robotics, cyber risks are likely to occur and manufacturers and even robotic companies need to assess the cybersecurity solutions to mitigate such risks. 

Market Trends

Reshoring US Manufacturing: As of recently, companies that sell goods in the US market are further planning to set up production facilities and add more of these facilities in the US than any other country.

The increasing trend of manufacturing within US is further expected to drive manufacturing industry itself and also increase the demand of robotics and automation by these end-use industries producing domestically. 

Increasing automation adoption: The trend of increasing automation leads to multiple benefits for the manufacturers such as skilled labor, supply chains and proximity to customers which is further driving the manufacturing scene within the US. The US manufacturers are driving cost competitiveness through automation.

At present 90% of the tasks in the factories are operated manually despite of the insurgence of robotic automation that has been around since more than 40 years. However, 75% of the manufacturers in the US expect to invest in automation in next five years that will further drive the industrial robotics scene in the country.

Further, at present the advanced robotics penetration is limited to 2-3% which is likely to reach 10% in 10 years of time. Similarly, the tasks performed by automation is likely to reach 25% in 2025 up from 10% in 2018. 

Growing skills gap: US is a country now in verge of skills crisis. Presently, 75% of the manufacturing companies in the country found that they had shortage of skilled workers. The X generation who are largely associated with the manufacturing industry need to be replaced with new generation. The actual problem is that, the new generation also lack necessary skills to replace these jobs.

For instance, Rethink Robotics based in the US is selling its robotic solution Swayer to multiple manufacturers which is a collaborative robotics solution. Sawyer is able to learn complex tasks with help of human counterpart but at present the manufacturing industry lack proper skillsets to handle and collaborate with robots in factories. 

Less cost-effective: One of the reasons for low adoption of robotics is also that, purchasing robotics which is an expensive undertaking for the large manufacturing companies. The new industrial robots in the market cost more than $100,000.

Although companies are also providing robots as a service where manufacturers can rent rather than buy them outright. However, the second option is also not viable as robots are to be used in long term and the process of manufacturing is continuous that requires the company to hire on regular basis which can be even more expensive.

Both options are proving to be still expensive for the companies and limiting them from staying within the budget. 

Safety: Although industrial robotics are popular but still many manufacturers are reluctant about the safety in implementation of such robots in their facility.

The industrial robots are meant to improve productivity in factory but also expected to create unsafe environment. According to safety standards established in US called OSHA some of the potential hazards of the robotics are: human errors caused due to lack of familiarity or lack of knowledge of robotic paths, control system faults, trespass of unauthorized operator in the robotic work cell, mechanical failures of the robots, power system that could lead to disruption and improper installation.

Thus, lack of awareness on proper installation, programming and risk assessment is leading to low adoption by number of manufacturers across the country. 

Technology Trends

Commercial Class legged robots: These robots are gaining huge traction in 2019 and have applications across industries such as construction, disaster relief and surveillance, food & beverage and other industries. Some robotics engineering companies such as Agility robots and Boston Dynamics are also launched robotics innovations known as Cassie bipedal robot and Handle, the wheel-leg hybrid robot in June 2018.

Some of the robotics providers in the market are also focusing on prototype designing and are set to produce legged robots including SpotMini quadrupled robots and atlas bipedal robots among others. 

Automation of robots: The manufacturing industry, primarily is emphasizing on the use of automation across factories to reduce labor costs, produce quality products and optimize processes. The automated robots are also being considered as feasible option for improving efficiency across supply chain, warehousing operations and other logistics processes. 

Cloud robotics: Advance technologies such as IIoT and cloud computing are being integrated to cater vigorous solutions to the end-user industries and this emerging field is being called, the Cloud Robotics.

For instance, different researchers are encouraging the formation of cloud computing infrastructure for generating a 3D model of environment allowing robots to perform simultaneous mapping and localization. The cloud robotics is growing at a rapid pace and the market size is expected to reach $21.78 billion by 2022. 

Big data integration: An emerging trend in industrial robotics market landscape is the integration of big data robotics that is creating business opportunities for the industries storing huge amount of important information and data. Big data along with Robotic Process Automation (RPA) technologies are being used to create intelligent robots. Some of the advantages of the integration include, scalability, improved accuracy, decreased cycle times are encouraging enterprises to leverage big data into robotics. 

3D technology and AI robots: These technologies are now becoming normal in robotics industry. 3D vision is utilized to feed data into AI technology and the AI transfers the visual information gained from the 3D vision, boosting the overall growth of 3D robotics market.

Some of the trends such as DIY and Maker Movement in advanced economies such as US are also bolstering the growth of 3D tech-enabled robotics and fuelling the robotics engineering systems. As a result, 3D printer market size is expected to reach $7 billion by 2022 which will further increase its significance in robotics in forthcoming years. 

Pricing Trends

As of 2018, the new industrial robotics present in the market cost range between $50,000 to $80,000. In addition, application specific peripherals added to robotic systems costs from $100,000 to $150,000. 

Refurbished or reconditioned robots are also available in the market which are cost-effective options. These used robots prices are 50% lower to that of the new ones and range between $25000 to $40,000. The entire robot systems consisting of application cost between $50,000 to $75000. 

The price of the robots is determined by the application performed by the robots. Some of the factors to be considered before choosing a robots are: workspace requirements, payload limits and product needs. 

Regulatory Trends

In January 2017, Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing (ARM) Institute was established and initially funded with $253 million by both public and private bodies. ARM is one of the only innovative program of its kind that is bringing together leadership and expertise of different parties such as academia, research, industry, government and non-profits as a collaborative to revamp American manufacturing.

Among the four branched mission of the program, one is to lower the operational and technical challenges in SME’s as well as large manufacturers through adoption of robotics. In addition, the US Defense Department is set to invest $80 million over 2018-2022 period and additional $173 million will be injected from other 225 remaining stakeholders. 

Along with ARM, other manufacturing innovation hubs are present that are sharing their expertise and resources. The multinational companies are bringing resources, researchers are coming up with innovative ideas and connecting the manufacturing industry with local governments and education is helping to reinforce the current and future for workforce at an age where automation is predominant.

The entire country is in verge of nationwide robotics collaboration which is enabling the robots to become more versatile, easier to deploy or redeploy and more cost-effective. 

ARM is also working to make robotics and automation accessible to the SME’s. High cost of robotics technologies and lack of resources are becoming the major obstacles for the SME manufacturers and ARM is focused on two main areas: technology and education to mitigate the imbalance.

Further, the Institute is also helping small companies to understand robotics technology better and make informed decisions in purchasing technology as per their needs. The goal of ARM is to lead a highly skilled workforce that will create and support advancement of robotics.

In addition, to make the education about the technology extensive, a series of regional hubs are being devised across the country called Regional Robotics Innovation Collaborative or RRICs to allow SME’s to access resources and expertise they need to deploy robotics across their facilities. 

The four sectors that ARM focuses on are automotive, aerospace, textiles and electronics. By 2025, the program further expects to cover 75% of all the robotic use in the country by these sectors. ARM is further collaborating with Advanced Functional Fabrics of America and initiating joint projects to automate textile industries in the country.

With the help of FAUB program, ARM is also allowing mechanics in aerospace companies to operate robots across several areas such as airplane fuselages among others. The automation the ARM is helping to incorporate is not only increasing productivity, saving jobs but also creating new jobs. 

Other Key Market Trends

Robots as a service (RaaS): The commencement of digital innovation and increasing technology awareness of consumers has led to emergence of new business models for the robotics industry also known as Robots as a service.

The model is designed to help the companies across various industries such as manufacturing or healthcare to complete tasks with the assistance of virtual agents. The business model runs on two premises: renting or lease further boosting the industrial robotics rental market. The expected deployment of robotic applications under the model is around 30% due to the large costs incurred in the deployment of robots significantly. 

Cobots: Some of the end user industries are constantly dependent on staff and labor forces but recently, the companies are adopting cobots or collaborative robots. These robots work alongside with the humans and this model in turn is enabling efficiency and overall productivity in factories.

Several SME’s in manufacturing sector are also utilizing benefits provided by the cobots such as ease in programming and integration, lower costs among others. The rising adoption of cobots among the end-user industries is also one of the reason for such robots to register CAGR over 60% by 2021. 

Robotics engineering courses: The adoption of industrial robotics in the mainstream manufacturing and other industries is encouraging students to enroll into robotic engineering courses as majors through graduate and undergraduate programs in top robotics universities.

Courses are offered in several areas encompassing robotics such as unified robotics, computer science, coding, programming and microcontrollers among others. According to US Bureau of Labor, companies have deployed over 125,000 robots within the factories during the last decade eventually requiring more well-trained staffs which is further increasing the demand of such courses. 

Customized robots: End user companies are constantly increasing the adoption of robots and incorporating them in their conventional hardware systems primarily due to tailor-made or customizable robots.

The next-gen robots are being leveraged by manufacturers to control and customize their hardware allowing companies to focus on lowering their costs and using customized robots. Companies such as US based HEBI are set to design custom robots as easy as LEGO by introducing Igor, a custom robot standing on two wheels. 

Market Size and Forecast

  • The industrial robotics market around the world was valued at $12.45 billion in 2018. 
  • The North American Industrial robotics market was valued at $4.88 billion in 2018. Further, as US accounted almost 74.8% of the total North American market in 2018, the market value of US industrial robotics was estimated to be around $3.5 billion respectively. 

Market Outlook

  • By 2025, the market value of world industrial robotics is expected to reach $18.62 billion registering CAGR of 48.9% during the 2019-2025 period. 
  • By 2025, the market value of industrial robotics in the North American region is expected to reach $11.65 billion registering a CAGR of 11.67% during the 2019-2025 period. 
  • By 2025, the market value of industrial robotics in the US is expected to reach $7.42 billion at a CAGR of 10% during 2019-2025 period.  

Technology Roadmap

Nano Manufacturing: In the industrial robotics, advances in MEMS, low power VLSI and nanotechnology are already enabling mm self-powered robots. In the near future, new parallel and assembly technologies for low cost production are likely to come up in the market.

Some of the conventional technologies in the robotics are likely to be replaced by the Nano-manufacturing. By 2020, the Nano-robots will be constructed out of organic materials. By 2030, manufacturing will be enabled by the next generation of molecular electronics and organic computers. 

Humanlike agile manipulation: At present, robot arms and hands are already overtaking human hands in terms of speed and strength. By 2020, the low complexity hands with independent connections will be capable of whole-hand grasp acquisition and further by 2030, high-complexity hands will be developed that will be able to perform dynamically and have whole-hand grasp acquisition capable of agile manipulation of objects found in manufacturing. 

Autonomous navigation: This technology is expected to create an impact upon automation of mining and construction equipment drastically. Investments are being made precisely in safe autonomous navigation and automated guided vehicles for material handling and logistics management. Further, by 2020, autonomous vehicle will be able to drive in any modern city or town and exhibit safe driving similar to human driver.

By 2030, it is expected that autonomous vehicles will be able to drive in any environment where human drive, the robot drivers are further likely to be safer and assess risks more effectively than a human driver. In addition, such vehicles will also be able to drive in extreme weather, sensor degradation among others. 

Competitive Landscape

  • In the US, the Industrial automation and robotics market is highly fragmented with number of domestic and international players. US is one of the most developed markets in robotics and most of the players in the market are dominated by German and Japanese manufacturers of industrial robots. 
  • The most of the industrial robotics application/products across the US manufacturing process can be categorized into handling & moving (49%), types of welding, spot (21%) and arc(14%) respectively. Finally, assembly and machining (16%) respectively. 
  • Within the US domestic market, the demand for these industrial robots is mostly met by the foreign manufacturers that have either headquarters in the US and produce directly in the US land with their own plants or by exporting from their country to the US. 
  • The major plant/factory facilities of industrial robotics production in the US are owned by European and Japanese companies that have invested in the US to acquire geographical proximity to the potential customers in the automotive field. Some of the major foreign players in the US include following: 
    • Japan: Faunc, Kawasaki, Yashkawa-Motoman
    • Germany: Kuka
    • Switzerland: ABB, Stabuli Abb, Punchers
  • A new trend in the market landscape is that, most of the domestic robotic companies are interested to invest in robotics application for SME manufacturers in the country. The scope of application across SME manufacturing within the US is high as more than 90% of the manufacturing in the US is comprised of SME’s. One example is, Baxter robot developed by Rethink Robotics based on US which sells at $22000 and costs almost 50% less than the same robot manufactured by ABB. 

Competitive Factors

In the US, the industrial robotics sales is directly proportional to the levels of industrial activity. The stabilizing GDP of the country since 2016 is a positive sign of revival of the US economy and further suggest the growth of US robots. 

One of the largest growing industry in the US, is the automotive sector and is also the customer of industrial robotics. As six of the top ten automotive manufacturers in the world are based on the US, the industrial robotics is highly being utilized by these manufacturers to further strengthen their product offering and automation processes. Almost 50% of the demand of industrial robots comes from automotive sector alone annually.

Among the top 5 leading nations in the industrial robotics, US has the most increased sales and imports of the industrial robots. The factor that is contributing to steady sales and increased demand is also the “re-shoring” or return of manufacturing within the country itself.

Across various manufacturing verticals, automotive industry has the highest robotics density than any other counterparts. In 2018, in the US, the robotics density per 10,000 employees in automotive industry was 1200 units which is highest in the world after Canada.

Whereas, the robotics density in general manufacturing (other categories expect automotive) is quite low; only 117 units per 10,000 in the US was recorded in 2018. The density is 10 times higher in automotive industry than any other industries in the market. 

Other manufacturing companies who are willing to sell industrial robotics in the US are also focusing on new application to robotics such as industries of food, pharmaceuticals and metal working. In the US, the automotive sector accounts almost 50% (15,000) of the total robotics shipments whereas other 50% by the non-automotive uses.

Besides automotive, the fastest growing segments are food & consumer goods (2,300 shipments), semiconductor and electronics (1,800 shipments) and Life sciences (1,500 shipments). In 2018, growth in shipments to food and consumer goods was up by 60%, semiconductor by 50% and life sciences by 13% respectively. 

Key Market Players

The 5 US based industrial robotics companies among the top 21 in the world are follows: 

Epson robotics: The Company entered the North American market for the first time in 1984 as EPSON Factory Automation Group. The Epson robotics segment is one of the most prominent companies for automation needs across manufacturing sites around the globe.

The company is mostly leading in automation industry for small parts assembly products. Its popular offering include compact SCARA robots, PC based controls, G-series, T-series, LS and RS series among others.

Kawasaki: The Company has already established over 160,000 robotics worldwide and is one of the chief provider in the industrial robotics and automation systems with a widespread portfolio of offerings. Kawasaki is one of the pioneer to commercialize the industrial robots and has contributed to growth of automation across multiple industries.

Some of the key products of the company are: duAro SCARA robot, K series for painting, Y series for Pick & place and B series for spot welding among others.

Nachi-Fujikoshi: The Michigan based company includes products that has scope of application across manufacturing fields such as machining products i.e. tools, and ultra-precision machines as well as robotic systems for reducing power consumption and automating production lines.

The company has recently introduced a cutting edge product i.e. MZ12 robot to the market that has the capacity of transporting 12 kgs and has major demand across electronics sector. Some of the key products of the company are: Compact MZ series, SR series for Spot welding, flexGui and Wing Slice Type EZ series among others.

IGM: The Company based in Wisconsin already has more than 3000 successful welding robotics systems worldwide. The company is only manufacturer to specialize in industrial robotics developed for arc welding in heavy applications.

The robots produced by the company is used in areas such as mechanical digger, locomotive and rolling stock construction and boiler manufacturer, bridge construction and shipbuilding along with applications in mobile cranes and forklift trucks. Its major products are: RTE 400 series and 499 Welding robots.

Rethink Robotics: The final robotics company based in the US to fall in top 21 industrial robotics players in the world are Rethink Robotics which is also one of the early collaborative industrial robotics companies. The major agenda of the company is to optimize labor through integrated workforce where cost-effective, safe and trainable robots are combined with the skilled labor across factories.

The Baxter robot powered by Intra is one of the most popular product offered by the company which provides labor solutions to manufacturers across automotive, plastics, electronics among others. The key products of the company are: Baxter Research robot, Sawyer robot (cobot) among others.

Strategic Conclusion

The robotic companies need to work collaboratively as an industry and work towards progressing this new technology and solve problems associated with it.

Presently, although the market landscape of the US is dominated by the foreign companies, the growing manufacturing scene in the country is likely to encourage some of the US based tech giants and small companies to invest in robotics.



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