Send in the factory robots
Robots have long been helping to assemble cars, but now they’re increasingly also assisting with the manufacture of semiconductors, LCD panels and other electronics.
Robot installations in electronics factories grew by 41 percent last year, according to a recent report by the International Federation of Robotics. That’s well above the 16 percent increase in industrial-robot installations worldwide across all industries.
The group cites several reasons underlying the new electronics-industry investment in factory robots. Among them: Rising demand for new
devices, pressure to automate production and the increasing need for batteries, chips and displays.
Technological advances might also be playing a part, as robots become capable of doing nimbler work. Most of the robot-assisted electronics factories are in Asia.
The electronics industry now accounts for 31 percent of the annual supply of factory robots, catching up to the automotive industry, which at 35 percent remains the top customer for assembly line automation.
The total number of industrial robots in operation worldwide grew by 12 percent last year to 1.83 million.