Home > AMRON, robotics > IFR/Metra Martech study predicts job creation through use of robots

IFR/Metra Martech study predicts job creation through use of robots

About a year ago IFR (International Federation of Robotics) contracted the company Metra Martech to study the impact of robotics on employment. Typically people predict that introduction of robots result in loss of jobs. Recent publications such as the “Make it in America” by Andrew Liveris, CEO and Chairman of Dow Chemical have suggested that through adoption of advanced manufacturing technologies the industrialized nations can compete with countries where low-salary workers are responsible for the manufacturing.

The recent Metra Martech study estimates that close to 3 million jobs today are enabled by use of 1 million robots. In addition the report predicts that over the next five years another 1 million jobs will be created due to adoption of robotics technology for applications in consumer electronics, solar & wind, and advanced fuel cell technology.

Both Japan and Germany are leaders in use of robotics technology and this has resulted in  increased employment in sectors such as automotive, that traditionally have been heavy users of robotics technology.

The report predicts that robots will continue to be major players in automation of factories, but that the new application areas will include elderly care and medical applications. In addition homeland security and defense will maintain its position as a high value market.

More information about the study is available from the IFR web site. The report can also be downloaded from their website.

Categories: AMRON, robotics Tags: ,
  1. November 23, 2011 at 3:04 pm | #1

    According to the IFR/Metra Martech study China has a total manufacturing workforce of about 34 million people (some claim 100 million). About 32-50.000 industrial robots are in operation, which means 9 robots per 10.000 employees. In comparison USA has 110 robots per 10.000 manufacturing workers, while Japan has 361 robots per 10.000 manufacturing workers. If China wants to come up to Japanese level about 1,2 million industrial robots will be required.
    Earlier this year the Taiwanese Foxconn Technology Group, a subsidy of the Hon Hai Precision Industries Ltd., and the largest original equipment manufacture (OEM) electronics company in Taiwan announced plans to replace hundreds of employees with “one million robots” over the next three years to cut rising labor expenses and improve efficiency.

    Applying the IFR/Metra Martech study mathematics to Foxconn’s robotics plans three million more new jobs have to be added to the one million new jobs predicted by IFR.

  2. hichristensen
    November 23, 2011 at 3:28 pm | #2

    Wolfgang you are correct. Sometimes certain nations in Asia want to include a broad variety of “machines” into the robot category to make them appear ahead in the statistics. Not entirely clear if the Foxconn robots will all be 3+ DOF programmable robots or machine center for automation. Already today Foxconn are using a very large number of machine centers for production, which is one of the reasons why Apple can build their unibody laptops. Upgrading them from machine centers to robots may be more of a classification issue. However we should expect to see extensive growth in robot use in China as salaries go up and the need for consistent quality increases. This is exactly the reason that ABB moved their robotics HQ to China and one of the reasons why companies such as KUKA, Yaskawa, … are setting up major operations in China. Nonetheless the utilization of robotics technology to empower workers in US and Europe will be essential to maintain manufacturing in those regions. Wind-power is a great example of how this is happening with use of robots for composite manufacturing. We will see this broader to other areas such as aerospace, …. So the number of robots will likely double in a 5 year period.

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