Since the 1990s, industrial automation has been a fundamental tool for companies seeking to establish and maintain a competitive market edge. The industrial robotic arm, although still a sparsely integrated technology, is fast becoming a household name in retail and consumer environments.
The industrial robot arm has been around since 1961. Its commercialization and market penetration began in Europe and Asia in the 1980s. This technology owes its rapid expansion to the automotive industry revolution. The subsidization of this technology did not happen until early in the 21st century, as many assembly and manufacturing industries began to understand the importance of precision and quality.
Currently, over two million industrial robots are operating worldwide, up from a few hundred a decades ago. iRobot alone has sold over 20 million consumer-grade collaborative robots. This fact clarifies that robotics is becoming a critical feature in shifting market dynamics.
Top Industrial Robot Arm Manufacturers in 2021
Unlike other forms of rigid robotic tech, industrial robot arms have established a firm grip in many industries. These robots are flexible, easy to program, and safe. They also operate on systems that ensure you get top-class precision and consistency at every level.
Over the years, there have been several robotic arm manufacturers competing for the rank of a top innovator. Here is a shortlist of some of the highly acclaimed industry robot arm manufacturers over the past few years.
Before going into this list, it is critical to understand the three main reasons why a robotics company is considered an industry leader.
- High annual revenue compared to similar specification industries
- Has been a leader in innovation for a lengthy period.
- Has a long list of robots in the market with several applications
1. Universal Robots
A robotics list cannot be complete without mentioning this top brand. At the very beginning of collaborative robots, evolution is Universal Robotics. Having been an industry leader since 2005, Universal Robots has built some of the most sophisticated and easy-to-use arms. This company has transformed entire industries by producing collaborative robots that perform any task faster and more efficiently.
This tech company aimed to compete on a different playing field by making collaborative robots accessible to SMEs. The stand-out feature of UR cobots is that they are lightweight, flexible, and user-friendly. With easy programming and padding for extra safety, these robot arms constantly feature in the competitive world of innovation.
Universal Robots is a market leader in every regard, and it continues to make collaborative robots more accessible and affordable for retail and consumer use. One notable innovation is the recent autonomous bin-picking robot launched in 2020. While it has not sufficiently penetrated the market for various reasons, they expected it to be a break-out tech soon.
As the founder of the term “collaborative robot” this Danish company clocks in annual revenue of about $220 million. Although it is outgunned by many of the brands on this list, it still ranks as one of the best robot companies in the world today.
2. FANUC Robotics
As a pioneer in robotics, Fanuc is one of the few companies that guarantees automation efficiency. This robot arm developer has established and maintained a reputation for building collaborative robots that are not only precise but highly reliable. Like Universal Robots, this company has been at the forefront of designing industry robots that improve critical operational capacity by providing top-class factory automation.
The adoption of its line of robot arms has been attributed to user-friendliness, easy programming, and overall efficiency. Their range of utility products is also very diverse, with small and medium-range robots performing anything from pick and place routines to complex fixturing.
Established in 1972, this Japanese company boasts an annual revenue of close to $5 billion, with almost 800k robots operational worldwide. These stats alone put it in the top 10% of industry-leading innovators this year.
3. KUKA Robotics
Kuka robotics is perhaps the oldest and most respected company on this list. The reason for this is that it has been providing highly durable robotic solutions for much longer than its immediate competitors. With annual revenue of over $2.5 billion, this German company is one of the main contributors to automotive automation.
Kuka robots are known for their agility, accuracy, speed, and overall efficiency. While their products may not be as affordable as other brands, Kuka still offers a good way to ensure your factory automation process is seamless and guarantees an improvement in production capacity. This company also has a wide range of products, from small retail size equipment to factory size robots that give you a payload of 1.3 tonnes.
Of the $2.5 billion, up to $900k is direct robotics revenue, making it one of the leading contributors to the tech market.
4. ABB Robotics
Another top brand is ABB robotics. In the robot arm field, ABB has been at the forefront in providing single and dual arm designs. This feature has, over the years, introduced a list of high-quality robot arms used in various industries with varying levels of efficiency. For the most part, this Swiss company has been designing and selling robotic technology since 1988. It became the first company to sell 100,000 units in 2002 and now sits at the top of the manufacturer’s list.
ABB does not just focus on robotics, however, it has other departments that focus on developing utility power equipment and various levels of automation technology. ABB also tops the revenue list, with an annual turnover of $28 billion.
5. Mitsubishi Electric Robotics
Last on this list is a company that is mainly known for its contribution to the automotive industry. Like others on this list, this Japanese company produces top-quality robot technology, and it has an annual revenue of almost $12 billion. Note that this is a large company with many innovative projects, so only about $3 billion in direct robotics revenue.
Despite this, however, Mitsubishi is still a leading contributor to the manufacture of collaborative robots, and it still ranks in the top 10 in terms of innovation and convenient technology.
Collaborative robots are a doorway into the future, and as more companies begin to invest in innovation, it is clear that technology will maintain an upward trajectory. For SMEs looking to invest in industrial automation, this list will help you identify the technology companies you should consider purchasing.