Send in the fac­tory ro­bots

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - BUSINESS -

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.

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