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13 JuNE 2024

Evolution of the Robotic Welding Market from 2014 to 2024

The welding robot industry has seen significant growth and technological advancements from 2014 to 2024, driven by increased demand, innovation, and adoption of automation technologies across various sectors. In 2014, the global robotic welding market was valued at approximately USD 2.5 billion. According to RoboticsTomorrow research it is expected to grow at 8.5% CAGR (compound annual growth rate ) from 2020 to 2029 and to reach above USD 9.8 billion by 2029 from USD 4.7 billion in 2020. This substantial growth is attributed to the rising adoption of Industry 4.0 principles, which emphasise automation and smart manufacturing processes.
Market Growth and Value: Insights into the Robotic Welding Industry

After looking through the welding market research from Fortune Business Insights, Inkwood Research and RoboticsTomorrow, we have identified several key trends that characterise the robotic welding industry from 2014 to 2024. Here they are:

Market Value:
The global robotic welding market was valued at around USD 2.5 billion and projected to exceed USD 7 billion, driven by increased automation and industrial demand.

Technological State:
Initially, it primarily involved basic robotic arms that required offline manual programming and had minimal integration with other devices. Now, it has evolved into advanced robotics equipped with computer vision, capable of operating with minimal human intervention and no need for programming.

Primary Application Areas:
At first automotive industry dominated, with some use in electronics and heavy machinery. Now it is expanded to include agricultural and rotary-drilling machinery sector (auger), steel bridge construction, shipbuilding, trailers, truck bodies & chassis etc.

Market Growth:
In 2014, growth was mostly moderate, driven by the needs of the automotive industry. By 2024, we see rapid growth due to widespread industrial automation and new opportunities for using automated welding with non-serial parts and parts that deviate from the original step-model.

Technological Advancements:
Technological advancements began with basic automation, featuring limited autonomy and sensory capabilities. Now, companies can utilize advanced computer vision for part recognition, real-time welding path generation, and enhanced sensory technologies.

Expansion of Applications:
In 2014 expansion of applications was strictly limited to high-volume, repetitive tasks in manufacturing. Nowadays it looks like diverse applications including precision welding in complex assemblies and low-volume, high-mix production.

Regional Focus:
Initially, North America, Europe, and Japan were the key regions. Now, there is growing interest across the entire US, with significant growth in China, South Korea, and emerging markets such as India and Southeast Asia.

Key Developments:
In 2014, we observed increased interest from companies across various industrial sectors. During this period, many companies experimented with automated welding technologies. However, due to the limitations of that time, they were disappointed and shelved their projects. With the advent of computer vision technology, there is a renewed wave of interest in automated welding. Companies with unused equipment are now ready to invest in upgrades and launch cells for products with non-serial production and significant deviations from the original model.

Economic Impact:
In 2014, it was considered to have a moderate impact with the potential for significant cost savings in serial manufacturing. By 2024, it is recognized for its major economic impact through productivity gains, even in non-serial manufacturing, material cost reductions, and the creation of new business models.

Market Drivers:
In 2014, the main driver for automation was to reduce production costs and boost overall profits. Today, industry and technological development are driven by market demands for improved product quality, enhanced workplace safety, flexible modifications to product lines without halting production, addressing staffing issues such as the shortage of skilled specialists, and tackling the challenges of knowledge accumulation and transfer.

Training and Workforce Development:
In 2014, training and workforce development had limited focus, primarily on specific topics to enhance the hard skills of operators and technicians. By 2024, we see significant investment in training and education programs to address both hard and soft skill gaps, including lean production, Six Sigma, and sustainability, to support new technologies.

How did we got there were now we are?
Advancements in robotic welding technology in 2014 have led to have first improvements in speed and precision. For instance, the adoption of AI and machine learning has enabled robots to perform complex tasks with higher accuracy and consistency. That’s why the use of welding robots has expanded beyond traditional automotive and aerospace sectors to include electronics, agricultural and rotary-drilling machinery sector, steel bridge construction, shipbuilding, and renewable energy sectors. This diversification has been fueled by the need for precise and efficient welding solutions in these industries. At that time the use of welding robots to work with limited series parts was just beginning, limited by high costs and lower capabilities compared to traditional industrial automative lines.

By 2015, the market continued to grow, especially in the automotive sector, as companies started recognizing the long-term benefits despite high initial costs. Incremental improvements were made in robotic precision and speed, though sensor eqipment integration was still in its early stages.

in 2017, the market saw broader acceptance and integration of robotic welding systems. Improvements in cost-efficiency and productivity gains drove this growth. Enhanced sensor technologies and control algorithms improved welding precision and reduced cycle times.

Technological breakthroughs at the begining of 2019 saw greater incorporation of computer vision, significantly improving the adaptability and precision of robotic welding systems. This led to reduced operational costs and higher returns on investment (ROI) for companies adopting these systems.

The COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 accelerated the adoption of automation technologies as companies sought to minimize human contact and ensure continuity in production. Asia-Pacific strengthened its position as a leading market for robotic welding, with substantial investments and advancements in automation.

In 2021, the extensive integration of different addictions in robotic systems facilitated real-time monitoring and predictive maintenance, reducing operational costs further. Companies achieved significant long-term savings and increased productivity through continuous operation without fatigue.

Further expansion into new industries such as agricultural and rotary-drilling machinery sector was seen in 2022, driven by the need for precise and efficient welding solutions. Ongoing improvements in parts recognision capabilities enhanced the performance and versatility of robotic welding systems.

Continued growth and technological advancements in 2023 led to reduced cycle times and increased production efficiency, making robotic welding more cost-effective for a broader range of companies. Increased efforts to train and upskill workers in robotic welding operations helped address the skills gap and enhance productivity.

As we see, the welding robot industry has transformed significantly from 2014 to 2024, driven by economic, technological, and regional factors. The adoption of advanced technologies and integration into various industries have not only expanded market size but also provided substantial economic benefits to companies through increased productivity, cost savings, and improved product quality. As the industry continues to evolve, the future promises further advancements and greater profitability for businesses leveraging robotic welding technologies.


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