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The global automotive robotics market was valued at 6.55 billion in 2020 and is projected to grow from USD 6.99 billion in 2021 to USD 16.29 billion in 2028, exhibiting a CAGR of 12.8% during the forecast period. The global COVID-19 pandemic has been unprecedented and staggering, with the market experiencing higher-than-anticipated demand across all regions compared to pre-pandemic levels. Based on our analysis, the global market had exhibited a higher growth of 9.58% in 2020 as compared to 2019.
With the increasing complexity of automobile production, auto manufacturers increasingly incorporate industrial robots in the manufacturing process. They provide a competitive advantage to automotive companies. They relieve bottlenecks, improve quality, increase capacity, reduce warranty costs and protect workers from dangerous jobs. Robotics in automotive is primarily used in assembly plants for functions such as painting and welding. However, with increasing technological advancements such as autonomous robots, they represent significant revenue potential throughout the supply chain. Hence, these factors will influence the growth of the market.
Increased Automation of Production Line due to COVID-19 will Fuel Growth
Globally, COVID-19 has caused a significant loss of revenue to automakers as production was entirely halted during the first two months of the pandemic-induced lockdown. Even though restrictions were lifted in several countries during the third quarter in 2020, capacity constraints caused a significant decline in production. These factors have caused a temporary decline in expenditure towards high-level automation of manufacturing plants. However, robotics in automotive provide manufacturers a strong incentive for modernization and digitalization of production.
Automation offers a solution to manufacturers that have been compelled to operate with a truncated workforce. For instance, the semiconductor shortage has led manufacturers to throttle production since Q4 2020 and is expected to continue until Q3 2021. In response, several developed countries such as the U.S. and Germany have announced concrete measures to shore up domestic production. Automation with the help of advanced solutions such as collaborative robots (cobots) allow manufacturers to restore production without losing cost efficiency.
Hence, the advantages of increasing robot installations continue to be the same in the long term. The range of solutions also continues to expand with conventional robots that can handle all payloads and new cobots, fully integrated into the production line and capable of safely working alongside employees. Hence, the pandemic will accelerate the adoption of automotive robots on the shop floor in the long run.
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Significant Jump in Robot Implementation by Manufacturing SMEs Will Positively Influence Growth
According to Minkyo Kim, CEO of Bigwave Robotics, robots were used mostly by medium-sized and large enterprises in the manufacturing space. However, as robotic solutions have become more cost-competitive and user-friendly, adoption is increasing among small-to-medium-sized companies (SMEs).
For instance, according to the International Federation of Robotics, 77 domestic collaborative robots were installed by a semiconductor equipment supplier in Korea. This resulted in an increase in productivity by 50%. Previously, robot implementation at this scale was affordable to only large enterprises. Hence, the increase in accessibility can result in more widespread adoption of robotics in automotive. These factors will positively influence the growth of the market.
Automotive Manufacturing Quality Gains Will Drive Growth of Market
Part-to-Part variability is reduced with the help of car factory robots. As they never get distracted or tired, every cycle is highly repeatable and performed the same way. They don’t handle parts in a way or drop them that can cause damage. Hence, waste caused by human error is eliminated, which also results in car assembly with less variability. As they are equipped with vision systems, automotive robots can even adapt programmed paths to suit variations in incoming materials. This leads to fewer mistakes, higher customer satisfaction, and lower warranty costs. Hence, automotive manufacturing quality gains will drive the growth of the market.
Protecting Workers Will Augment Market Growth
In automotive manufacturing, several jobs are hazardous in nature. For instance, in a foundry, there is an obvious danger when pouring molten metal. Some jobs can also result in musculoskeletal disorders caused by twisting, lifting, and repetitive motions. These risks can be reduced with the help of robots. During vehicle assembly, robots safeguard workers from exposure to fumes from painting and welding and stamping presses, noise and weld flash. Automotive robotics substantially cut injury claims and accidents by reducing worker exposure to such dangerous environments and dirty tasks. Hence, these factors will drive the automotive robotics market growth.
High Cost of Integration to Restrain Growth
In November 2020, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology published a study titled The State of Industrial Robotics. According to the report, although the cost of robot hardware has decreased over the last few years, it only accounts for a small part of the overall integration cost in a manufacturing line. According to a well-known robotics integrator participating in the study, robots are now cheaper; however, integration is not. Moreover, if the manufacturing line undergoes even small changes, robot work cells need to be redesigned and repurposed by integrators.
Several companies attributed the high integration cost as a barrier to increased implementation. High integration costs are prohibitive to SMEs with smaller production lots, and attempting to integrate new robotic technologies with 15 to 20-year-old infrastructure can weigh down large companies. Hence, these factors will restrain the growth of the market.
Articulated Segment to Hold Largest Share Owing to Ease of Operation
By type, the market is segmented into articulated, cartesian, cylindrical, SCARA, and others.
The articulated segment held the largest share of the market. Articulated robots are highly versatile and can be used across various applications such as dispensing, loading & unloading, packaging, and welding. Hence, these factors will fuel the growth of the segment during the forecast period.
The SCARA segment is expected to show substantial growth in the market. Factors such as high flexibility due to a broad movement range, more accurate control, and smaller footprint are attributed to the increasing adoption of SCARA robots.
The Cartesian segment is expected to show steady growth in the market owing to its capacity to operate heavy payloads and reduce cycle times with highly repeatable and fast movements.
The Cylindrical segment is also expected to show good growth in the market due to their ease of use, low space requirements compared to Cartesian robots, and high usage in assembly operations.
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Welding Segment Dominated in 2020 Propelled by Substantial Efficiency Gains in Production
By application, the market is segmented into welding, painting, material handling, assembly/disassembly, and others.
The welding segment held the largest share of the market in 2020. Factors such as enhancing safety and efficiency on the production line and improving the speed of multi-material vehicle production are attributed to the increasing adoption of welding robots.
The material handling segment is expected to show significant growth in the market. Material handling includes several functions such as loading and unloading, packing, and palletizing. Using robots in material handling eliminates several errors involved in manual operation, such as order packing errors, conveyor stoppage due to slower pick speeds, and longer idle time. Hence, these factors will fuel the growth of this segment.
Further, the painting segment is also expected to show steady growth in the market due to continuous technological advancement that has made them faster in operation, lighter, and easy to integrate.
Asia Pacific Automotive Robotics Market Size, 2020(USD Billion)
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Asia Pacific held the largest automotive robotics market share and stood at USD 2.88 billion in 2020. Factors such as the aging worker population in China and rising labor costs are attributed to the increased adoption of robotics in automotive. For instance, in 2019, Byton, the Chinese electric vehicle manufacturer, opened a new manufacturing base in Nanjing that integrates 335 welding robots supplied by KUKA and a 99% automation rate. Hence, these factors are attributed to the exponential growth of the market in this region.
North America is anticipated to exhibit significant growth during the forecast period. According to the US Department of Labor Job Openings and Labor Turnover, as of January 2020, around 80% of manufacturers were struggling to fill over 400,000 open positions. However, manufacturers can now slowly address the shortage due to the advancement in automotive robotics solutions.
Major automakers in the U.S., such as Ford, Tesla, and General Motors, have invested extensively in automotive robotics. It not only increases worker productivity; it also offers better-paid and higher-skilled work to employees. For instance, according to the International Federation of Robotics, in the U.S., robots installed per 10,000 employees hit a new record of 1,287 units in 2020. Hence, these factors will propel the growth of the market in the region.
Europe is also expected to show considerable growth in the market. Significant post-pandemic supply chain realignment focusing on boosting domestic production across the auto manufacturing value chain will drive the demand for automotive robotics in this region.
Strategic Partnerships with Leading Automakers to Strengthen the Leading Position of KUKA AG in the Market
Extensive product portfolio and long-standing partnerships with leading OEMs have enabled KUKA AG to capture a larger share of the market. For instance, in April 2021, KUKA and Daimler AG signed a new framework contract for the coming years. The order includes a four-figure number of linear units, robots, and other technologies such as software and controllers. The products and solutions developed by KUKA will be used to produce bodies in white and drive trains at various locations over the next few years. Hence, these factors will strengthen the leading position of the company in the market.
An Infographic Representation of Automotive Robotics Market
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The market research report covers a detailed analysis of the industry and focuses on key aspects, such as leading companies, product types, and leading applications of the product. Besides this, it offers insights into the market trends and highlights key industry developments. In addition to the aforementioned factors, the report delivers an in-depth market analysis of several factors that have contributed to its growth over recent years.
Value (USD Billion)
Fortune Business Insights says that the global market size was USD 6.55 billion in 2020 and is projected to reach USD 16.29 billion by 2028.
In 2020, the Asia Pacific market value stood at USD 2.88 billion.
The market will exhibit a growth rate of 12.8% in the forecast period (2021-2028).
The welding segment is expected to lead this market during the forecast period.
Benefits of automotive robotics such as protecting workers and manufacturing quality gains are the key factors driving the growth of the market.
KUKA AG, FANUC Corporation, and ABB Ltd. are the major players in the global market.
The Asia Pacific held the largest share in the market in 2020.
Increasing implementation of Industry 4.0 principles in developing countries that aim to automate conventional manufacturing methods is expected to drive the adoption of automotive robotics during the forecast period.
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