The rise of the machines has well and truly started. Data from the International Federation of Robotics reveals that the pace of industrial automation is accelerating across much of the developed world with 74 installed industrial robots per 10,000 employees globally in 2016. A year later, that increased to 85 across the manufacturing sector. Europe has a robot density of 106 units per 10,000 workers and that number is 91 and 75 in the Americas and Asia respectively. China is one of the countries recording the highest growth levels in industrial automation but nowhere has a robot density like South Korea.
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In 2017, South Korea had 710 installed industrial robots per 10,000 employees. That is mainly due to the continued installation of high volume robots in the electronics and electric sectors. 90 percent of Singapore's industrial robots are installed in its electronics industry and it comes second with a density of 658 per 10,000 employees. Germany and Japan are renowned for their automotive industries and they have density levels of just over 300 per 10,000 workers. Interestingly, Japan is one of the main players in industrial robotics, accounting for 56 percent of global supply.
In the United States, the pace of automation is slower with a density rate of 200. China is eager to expand its level of automation in the coming years, targeting a place in the world's top-10 nations for robot density by 2020. It had a density rate of 25 units in 2013 and that grew to 97 by 2017. In 2017, China was already supplying 36 percent of the robots sold.