Electronics manufacturing driving industrial robotics market growth

Global robot sales have increased over the last several years and are expected to continue to increase through 2020. The electronics manufacturing industry has been a major reason for that as companies have started using robots for sensitive and challenging applications.
By Robotic Industries Association (RIA) November 17, 2017

Global sales of industrial robots rose 16% in 2016, bringing the world market value up to $13.1 billion. Industrial robot sales are expected to grow at a faster rate in 2017, and sustain this rapid rate of growth through 2020.

While industrial robot sales have consistently grown, the dynamics of this growth are changing. For decades, the automotive industry was the major driver of growth in industrial robots. However, the electronics manufacturing industry accounted for nearly as many robot shipments as the automotive industry in 2016.

Industrial robot sales jumped 41% in the electronics industry in 2016. As robots become smaller, cheaper and more precise, these manufacturers are increasingly adopting robots to combat the enormous demand for batteries, chips, and displays.

Industrial robot technology’s impact on electronics manufacturing

Robots allow for miniaturization, increased throughput and reduced lead times for electronics manufacturers. Industrial robots are inherently more precise than humans, and have a major impact on assembly work that revolutionizes the rest of the electronics supply chain.

Industrial robots can place parts faster and more accurately, clearing the way not only for smaller electronics, but also faster production and higher throughput. This, in turn, allows manufacturers to optimize their supply chains by reducing lead times and by moving production closer to the product’s destination.

Industrial robot applications in electronics manufacturing

Industrial robots perform a wide variety of tasks in electronics manufacturing. Many of them involve advanced vision systems and sensors to accommodate for task variations and careful handling of delicate parts. Common applications include: 

  • Assembly
  • Inspection and testing
  • Packing
  • Dispensing.

Image courtesy: Bob Vavra, CFE MediaRobots are used to handle display screens, assemble connectors and other subassemblies, apply adhesives and sealants, perform inspections and tests, and even populate and coat circuit boards. They play a vital role from the start of production right up through to the point of delivery.

Industrial robots are important in the electronics manufacturing industry and enable not only major supply chain changes but revolutionized production processes. 2016 saw strong growth in industrial robotic sales in the electronics manufacturing industry, and adoption rates will likely increase.

Traditionally, the automotive industry has been the major force behind the growth of industrial robotics. But now, the electronics industry is on par with the automotive industry and adopting a wider range of robotic solutions than ever before.

This article originally appeared on the Robotics Online Blog. Robotic Industries Association (RIA) is a part of the Association for Advancing Automation (A3). A3 is a CFE Media content partner. Edited by Chris Vavra, production editor, Control Engineering, CFE Media, cvavra@cfemedia.com.