Large companies are catching up in DIY automation

Montreal/Berlin, 5 June 2024. The technology company Vention has analyzed in a study how companies automate their production independently.  Small businesses are trendsetters in do-it-yourself (DIY) automation, but large companies are catching up. The study is based on anonymized data from over 1,400 corporate users of Vention’s Manufacturing Automation Platform (MAP) worldwide. 

For the second time, Vention publishes the annual study „The State of DIY Industrial Automation“. The focus is on do-it-yourself (DIY) automation, which enables manufacturers of different sizes to automate their production independently using state-of-the-art technologies.  

For the study, Vention evaluated the user behavior of its corporate customers on the Vention cloud platform MAP from January to December 2023. The aim was to capture the current state of DIY automation in companies and to explain how they use the DIY approach for the design, integration and operation of automation components, such as robot cells or cobot palletizers.  

„The trend towards DIY automation continues this year,“ says Etienne Lacroix,  CEO of Vention. „One driver is the shortage of skilled workers, which is becoming increasingly noticeable . The question of how production can be automated quickly and cost-effectively is  currently occupying many companies. We see that small companies  in particular are automating independently. But compared to last year, the number of large  companies using DIY automation is increasing significantly.“  

The most important findings of the study:  

1. Small (< 200 employees (MA)) and medium-sized enterprises („Medium“, < 2,000 employees) were the leading users of automation systems on MAP in 2023, with a share of 48% and 17%, respectively. However, small businesses faced more challenging economic conditions in 2023. As a result, there was a decline of 12% in this segment compared to the previous year (see study, p. 8). 

Large companies („Large“, < 10,000 employees) as well as the academic and government research sector („Academia & Gov Research“) have made significant gains in the use of the DIY approach on MAP (+10% and +4% respectively). Platform technology has made significant progress over the past year, providing more opportunities for high-throughput projects traditionally associated with larger manufacturers or users (see study, p. 8). 

3. In 2023, very large companies („Enterprise“, > 10,000 employees) used the DIY approach more often in their factory floors than any other sector. Accordingly, the number of projects implemented with MAP in this segment has risen – from an average of 4.1 in 2022 to 4.9 projects in 2023 (see study, p. 11).

4. Projects with machine operation applications were the fastest implemented on MAP in 2023. This is likely due to the fact that it is difficult for companies to recruit staff given the ongoing labor shortages. As recent innovations have made CNC integration more accessible, manufacturers are more eager than ever to quickly adopt automated machine operation applications (see study, p. 24).  

5. After two years of record sales (2021 and 2022), the Association for  Advancing Automation (A3) reported a significant 30% decline in robot sales in  North America in 2023. In contrast, robot deployments on MAP saw a notable increase in both  2022 and 2023. In 2023, robot deployments  on MAP grew by about 40% (see study, p. 26). 

The full study can be found here.

Record 2.7 Million Robots Work in Factories Around the Globe

IFR presents World Robotics 2020 – #WorldRobotics2020

Frankfurt, Sep 24, 2020 — The new World Robotics 2020 Industrial Robots report shows a record of 2.7 million industrial robots operating in factories around the world – an increase of 12%. Sales of new robots remain on a high level with 373,000 units shipped globally in 2019. This is 12% less compared to 2018, but still the 3rd highest sales volume ever recorded.

“The stock of industrial robots operating in factories around the world today marks the highest level in history,” says Milton Guerry, President of the International Federation of Robotics. “Driven by the success story of smart production and automation this is a worldwide increase of about 85% within five years (2014-2019). The recent slowdown in sales by 12% reflects the difficult times the two main customer industries, automotive and electrical/electronics, have experienced.”

“In addition to that, the consequences from the coronavirus pandemic for the global economy cannot be fully assessed yet,” proceeds Milton Guerry. “The remaining months of 2020 will be shaped by adaption to the ´new normal´. Robot suppliers adjust to the demand for new applications and developing solutions. A major stimulus from large-scale orders is unlikely this year. China might be an exception, because the coronavirus was first identified in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December 2019 and the country already started its recovery in the second quarter. Other economies report to be at the turning point right now. But it will take a few months until this translates into automation projects and robot demand. 2021 will see recovery, but it may take until 2022 or 2023 to reach the pre-crisis level.”

Asia, Europe and the Americas – overview

Asia remains the strongest market for industrial robots – operational stock for the region´s largest adopter China rose by 21% and reached about 783,000 units in 2019. Japan ranks second with about 355,000 units – plus 12 %. A runner-up is India with a new record of about 26,300 units – plus 15%. Within five years, India has doubled the number of industrial robots operating in the country´s factories.

The share of newly installed robots in Asia was about two thirds of global supply. Sales of almost 140,500 new robots in China is below the record years of 2018 and 2017 but still more than double the numbers sold five years ago (2014: 57,000 units). Installations of top Asian markets slowed down – in China (minus 9%) and Japan (minus 10%).

Annual installations of industrial robots TOP 15 countries © World Robotics 2020 Report

In China, the broad majority of 71% of new robots was shipped in from foreign suppliers. Chinese manufacturers still mainly cater to the domestic market, where they gain increasing market shares. Foreign suppliers deliver some 29% of their units to the automotive industry, while it is only around 12% for Chinese suppliers. Therefore, foreign suppliers are more affected by the decline of business in the Chinese automotive industry than the domestic suppliers.


Europe reached an operational stock of 580,000 units in 2019 – plus 7%. Germany remains the main user with an operational stock of about 221,500 units – this is about three times the stock of Italy (74,400 units), five times the stock of France (42,000 units) and about ten times the stock of the UK (21,700 units).

Robot sales show a differentiated picture for the largest markets within the European Union: About 20,500 robots were installed in Germany. This is below the record year 2018 (minus 23%) but on the same level as 2014-2016. Sales in France (+15%), Italy (+13%) and the Netherlands (+8%) went up. Robotics in the United Kingdom remains on a low level – new installations slowed down by 16%. The newly installed 2,000 units in the UK are about ten times less than the shipments in Germany (20,500 units), about five times less than in Italy (11,100 units) and about three times less than in France (6,700 units).


The USA is the largest industrial robot user in the Americas, reaching a new operational stock record of about 293.200 units – up 7%. Mexico comes second with 40,300 units, which is a plus of 11% followed by Canada with about 28,600 units – plus 2%.

New installations in the United States slowed down by 17% in 2019 compared to the record year of 2018. Although, with 33,300 shipped units, sales remain on a very high level representing the second strongest result of all time. Most of the robots in the USA are imported from Japan and Europe. Although, there are not many North American robot manufacturers, there are numerous important robot system integrators. Mexico ranks second in North America with almost 4,600 units – a slowdown of 20%. Sales in Canada are 1% up to a new record of about 3,600 shipped units.

South America´s number one operational stock is in Brazil with almost 15,300 units – plus 8%. Sales slowed down by 17% with about 1,800 installations – still one of the best results ever – only beaten by record shipments in 2018.

Worldwide trend in human-robot collaboration

The adoption of human-robot collaboration is on the rise. We saw cobot installations grew by 11%. This dynamic sales performance was in contrast to the overall trend with traditional industrial robots in 2019. As more and more suppliers offer collaborative robots and the range of applications becomes bigger, the market share reached 4.8% of the total of 373,000 industrial robots installed in 2019. Although this market is growing rapidly, it is still in its infancy.

Collaborative and traditional industrial robots © IFR International Federation of Robotics


Globally, COVID-19 has a strong impact on 2020 – but also offers a chance for modernization and digitalization of production on the way to recovery. In the long run, the benefits of increasing robot installations remain the same: Rapid production and delivery of customized products at competitive prices are the main incentives. Automation enables manufacturers to keep production in developed economies – or reshore it – without sacrificing cost efficiency. The range of industrial robots continues to expand – from traditional caged robots capable of handling all payloads quickly and precisely to new collaborative robots that work safely alongside humans, fully integrated into workbenches.


Orders for World Robotics 2020 Industrial Robots and Service Robots reports can be placed online and grant immediate access to the 2019 figures.