MUNICH—Industrial robots in Europe are on the rise: Manufacturers in the European Union’s 27 member states installed almost 72,000 robots in 2022, a 6 percent increase from 2021, according to the International Federation of Robotics (IFR).

“The top five adopting countries within the EU are Germany, Italy, France, Spain and Poland,” says Marina Bill, IFR president and group vice president and head of marketing and sales for robotics and discrete automation at ABB. “They account for about 70 percent of all industrial robots installed within the EU in 2022.”

Germany is by far the largest robot market in Europe: About 26,000 units were installed there last year. That’s 3 percent more than in 2021 and 37 percent of total EU installations. Worldwide, the country has the fourth highest robot density, following Japan, Singapore, and the Republic of Korea. 

The automotive industry is traditionally the main customer of industrial robots in Germany. Some 27 percent of the newly deployed robots were installed in this industry in 2022. In general industry, the main consumer of robots was the metal industry, which installed 4,200 units in 2022. This is above the pre-pandemic level, which fluctuated around 3,500 units per year. Installations in the plastic and chemical products industry were also up.

Italy is the second largest robot market in Europe after Germany. An all-time high of almost 12,000 units—10 percent more than in 2021—were installed in 2022. This was 16 percent of total EU installations.

The robot market in France ranked third in Europe in 2022. Installations went up by 15 percent. The French government’s 100 billion euro stimulus package for investment in smart factory equipment that came into effect mid-2021 is expected to create new demand for industrial robots in the next few years.

Annual installations in Spain grew by 12 percent with a total number of 3,800 units. Robot installations in Spain are traditionally determined by the automotive industry. According to the International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers, Spain is the second largest producer of cars in Europe following Germany. The car industry in Spain installed 900 units, up 5 percent from 2021. 

Robot installations in Poland had been on a strong upward trajectory for nine years. 

Annual installations reached a total number of 3,100 units in 2022, the second-best result after the new peak level of 3,500 units in 2021. The war in neighboring Ukraine has dampened manufacturing in Poland. But, investments in digitalization and automation technologies will benefit from a total of 160 billion euros in EU investment support between 2021 and 2027.

Robot installations throughout Europe, including non-EU member states, reached a total of 84,000 units, up 3 percent compared with 2021.