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Robotics in Shipbuilding Market Size, Share & COVID-19 Impact Analysis, By Type (Articulated Robots, SCARA Robots, Cartesian Robots, Cylindrical Robots, Polar Robots, Collaborative Robots), By Application (Cutting, Welding, Painting, Assembly, Inspection, Others) and Regional Forecast, 2021-2028

Region : Global | Format: PDF | Report ID: FBI103548



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The global robotics in shipbuilding market size was USD 581.3 million in 2020. The market is projected to grow from USD 616.8 million in 2021 to USD 1001.4 million in 2028 at a CAGR of 7.74% in the forecast period (2021-2028). The global impact of COVID-19 has been unprecedented and staggering, with robotics in shipbuilding witnessing a negative demand shock across all regions amid the pandemic. Based on our analysis, the global market had shown a decline of 16.6% in 2020 compared to the average year-on-year growth during 2017-2019.


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Automated robots are used in the shipbuilding industry for operations processes such as cutting, welding, painting, and others. In the past few years, shipbuilders have been set to automate the shipbuilding process using robot technology which is expected to drive the growth of this market. 

  • For instance, in 2018, Hyundai Heavy Industries Co. Ltd. started a dedicated robotics business to increase the production capacity of naval ships

Moreover, the growing demand for the development of smaller robot systems, especially for welding in confined spaces, is expected to fuel the growth of robotics in shipbuilding market.

COVID-19 Pandemic has Negatively Impacted Shipbuilding Industry

The COVID-19 pandemic has devastated the global economy. The lockdown in the first and second quarters of 2020 led to the loss in revenues of various sectors, which includes the maritime sector. Shipbuilding companies, shipyards, and other suppliers needed to adapt working practices aligned with government restrictions which led to the suspension of shipbuilding operations. 

  • For instance, Fincantieri Shipyard, based in Italy, had completely suspended all manufacturing activities from 12th March 2020 up to mid-April.

Moreover, the diminished demand for maritime trades and travel has led to the cancellation of ship orders. The European shipyards' most successful segment in ship construction is cruise ships. However, during the COVID-19 pandemic, cruise ships were anchored and moored due to reduced passenger traffic. This led to delay in cruise deliveries and cancellation of orders in a few cases. 

Hence, due to the reduction in manufacturing operations, the demand for robotics in shipbuilding decreased during the pandemic. 

However, this crisis is expected to be a digitalization promoter that will create growth opportunities for robotic technology in the shipbuilding industry. The demand for automating the shipbuilding process has increased to fulfill the labor gap created during the pandemic. 


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Increasing Demand for Collaborative Robotics is a Prominent Trend

The shipbuilding industry is rapidly shifting towards collaborative robots, also known as cobots. The cobots collaborate with humans and make the manufacturing process more efficient. Mobile collaborative robots are able to move across the factories and assist the working staff. Moreover, cobots can also be used for efficiently transporting small and large components to the assembly points. Many robot manufacturers are focused on developing technologically advanced collaborative robots.

  • For instance, READY Robotics, a U.S.-based startup, develops collaborative robots that simplify industrial automation services. The company offers Robotics-as-a-Service (RaaS) to the manufacturers get paid with monthly ‘wage’ for robots and cobots.


Increased Usage of Robotics Technology to Plug Labor Gap in Shipbuilding Industry to Boost Growth

The shipbuilding industry has relied on skilled workers for tasks such as painting, welding, and cutting. Conventional methods use a long time to complete the operations. Hence, shipbuilders are focused on using robot technology to decrease time and cost.

  • For instance, Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering used a 16 Kg robotic arm named caddy to weld steel parts. This robot helped Daewoo Shipbuilding to save about USD 4.5 billion for each vessel.

Shipbuilders are recognizing the value of advanced robotics and sparing humans from dangerous and monotonous tasks. Moreover, robot technology is highly efficient and is proving to plug the labor gap in the shipbuilding industry.

Growing Adoption of Industrial Robots in Shipbuilding Industry to Propel Growth

The shipbuilding companies are investing in automation of operations such as welding, cutting, painting, and others to speed up the manufacturing process and save the manufacturing cost. Many key players such as Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering, Samsung Heavy Industries, and Hyundai Heavy Industries have adopted welding robots to decrease the manufacturing cost of the ship.

  • For instance, Samsung Heavy Industries Co. Ltd.’s Geoje Shipyard has developed various robot systems such as spider automatic welding robot, wall-climbing robot, vacuum blasting robots, cleaning pipe robot and inspection robot. Since the adoption of these robots, the Geoje Shipyard has recorded a 68% production automation rate.


High Initial Investment Cost and Maintenance Cost May Hinder Market Growth

The initial stage of installing a robotic system includes procurement, integration, accessories, programming, and others. The high capital investment at the initial stage may act as a challenge for some companies. An industrial robotic system that is used in shipbuilding can cost anywhere between USD 50,000 to USD 150,000. The cost of industrial systems, combined with integration and maintenance costs, makes automation a costly investment for small and medium-scale shipbuilders. Several small and medium-scale shipbuilders find it difficult to accumulate high funds owing to the low production volume and slow return on investment.

Moreover, the maintenance cost is also high for the robotic systems, which are expected to hamper the robotics in shipbuilding market growth.


By Type Analysis

Articulated Robot Segment to Dominate the Market Owing to Increasing Automation of Welding Process

Based on type, the market is segmented into articulated robots, SCARA robots, Cartesian robots, cylindrical robots, polar robots, and collaborative robots.

The articulated robot segment is anticipated to dominate the market during the forecast period. The growth of the segment can be attributed to the increased usage of articulated robotics in shipbuilding for automating applications such as welding, painting, and heavy lifting.

The collaborative robot segment is expected to grow at a higher CAGR owing to the surging demand for cobots for highly efficient production.

SCARA and Cylindrical robot segments are predicted to grow through the forecast period owing to their robust design that can perform a task in harsh environments.

Cartesian and polar robot segments are expected to witness substantial growth through the projection period due to rising demand for polar and Cartesian robots for automation in logistics and warehouses in the shipbuilding industry.

By Application Analysis

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Increasing Traffic of Container Cargo to Fuel Container Handling Services Segment Growth

Based on application, the market is classified into cutting, welding, painting, assembly, inspection, and others.

The welding segment is expected to lead robotics during the forecast period due to the high adoption of robots to weld parts of the ship. Welding is a time-consuming and labor-induced operation. Hence, shipbuilders are focused highly on automating the welding process to save labor costs.

  • For instance, in 2018, an Ulsan-based shipbuilder announced to automate the welding process that would save USD 9.4 million annually. The automation reduced the welding time by two-thirds’ and reduced the number of skilled laborers.

The cutting segment is anticipated to grow significantly due to the growing demand for an increased productivity rate. The profile cutting robots are used for cutting 3D curved surfaces of the ship.

The painting and assembly robot segments are expected to grow owing to a rising need for reducing production time and saving manufacturing costs.


Asia Pacific Robotics in Shipbuilding Market Size, 2020 (USD Million)

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The global market is classified into Europe, North America,  Asia-Pacific, and the Rest of the World.

Asia-Pacific held the highest market share in 2020 and is expected to grow at a high CAGR through the forecast period. The dominance is due to the presence of major industrial robot manufacturers such as Hyundai Heavy Industries Co. Ltd., the Fanuc Corporation, Kawasaki Heavy Industries, and others in the region. According to a published report, China, South Korea, and Japan account for 90% of global cargo ship production and export. Hence, the presence of major shipbuilders such as China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation, Daewoo Shipbuilding, Marine Engineering, and others also drives market in the region.

Robotics in shipbuilding market in Europe is projected to grow substantially owing to the growing investments by European shipbuilders for shipbuilding robots.

North America market is likely to grow owing to rising research and developments by the key robot manufacturers for artificial intelligence-based, highly efficient and smaller robotic systems.


Hyundai Heavy Industries Co. Ltd. Invests in Robot Manufacturing to Achieve Competitive Edge in Market

Hyundai Heavy Industries Co. Ltd. is a major shipbuilding company that is focused on manufacturing robotic solutions to decrease manufacturing costs. 

  • In 2017, Hyundai Heavy Industries Co. Ltd. announced to set up its divisions into separate companies. The robotics division was formed into a separate holding company named “Hyundai Robotics,” entirely focusing on robotic technology. 

Other key players are investing in the research and development of advanced robotic technology by adopting artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, and augmented reality. 


  • ABB (Switzerland)

  • Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd (Japan)

  • KUKA AG (Germany)

  • The Yaskawa Electric Corporation (Japan)

  • KRANENDONK Production Systems BV (Netherlands)

  • Hyundai Heavy Industries Co. Ltd. (South Korea)

  • Samsung Heavy Industries Co. Ltd. (South Korea)

  • RB3D (France)

  • The Fanuc Corporation (Japan)

  • READY Robotics Corporation (U.S.)


  • In May 2021 – Fincantieri S.p.A signed an agreement with Comau to develop prototypes of robotic steel welding solutions, which will be implemented initially in Fincantieri shipyards. The first joint project tests will be carried out at the Fincantieri shipyards by the first half of the year 2022.

  • In April 2021 – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (Marad) awarded grants worth USD 19.6 million to 31 small shipyards in 15 states through the Small Shipyard Grant Program. Among the 31 shipyards, the Heartland Fabrication LLC received USD 982,954 to support the purchase of a robotic welding system


An Infographic Representation of Robotics in Shipbuilding Market

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The market report provides a detailed analysis of the industry and focuses on key aspects, such as key players, types and applications of robotics in shipbuilding. Moreover, the research report offers insights on robotics in shipbuilding market trends, competitive landscape, market competition, product pricing, market status and highlights key industry developments. In addition to the factors mentioned above, it encompasses several direct and indirect factors that have contributed to the sizing of the global market over recent years.

Report Scope & Segmentation



Study Period


Base Year


Estimated Year


Forecast Period


Historical Period



Value (USD Million)


Type, Application, and Geography

By Type

  • Articulated Robots

  • SCARA Robots

  • Cartesian Robots

  • Cylindrical Robots

  • Polar Robots

  • Collaborative Robots


By Application

  • Cutting

  • Welding

  • Painting

  • Assembly

  • Inspection

  • Others

By Geography


  • North America (By Type, Application, and Country)

    • U.S. (By Type)

    • Canada (By Type)

  • Europe (By Type, Application, and Country)

    • U.K. (By Type)

    • Germany (By Type)

    • France (By Type)

    • Russia (By Type)

    • Rest of Europe (By Type)

  • Asia Pacific (By Type, Application, and Country)

    • China (By Type)

    • India (By Type)

    • Japan (By Type)

    • South Korea (By Type)

    • Rest of Asia-Pacific (By Application)

  • Rest of the World (By Type, Application, and Sub-Region)

    • The Middle East & Africa (By Type)

    • Latin America (By Type)

Frequently Asked Questions

Fortune Business Insights says that the global market size was USD 581.3 million in 2020 and is projected to reach USD 1001.4 million by 2028.

Registering a CAGR of 7.74%, the market will exhibit steady growth in the forecast period (2021-2028).

The articulated robot segment is expected to lead this market during the forecast period.

Hyundai Heavy Industries is the leading player in the global market.

Asia-Pacific dominated the market in terms of share in 2020.

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