Thursday, May 2, 2019

Robot workers in Korea

Empirical data show that Korean workers put in some of the longest work hours of any country in the world.  However, Korea's industrial robots work even longer!  Furthermore, the use of industrial robots has grown in large part because the main engine of Korea's export-led economy is the ICT sector.  As shown in this graphic from Statista, (click for a larger version) Korea continues to lead the world in manufacturing robot density (the number of installed industrial robots per 10,000 employees in the manufacturing industry).  As noted in the Executive Summary World Robotics 2018 Industrial Robots, as of 2016 the electrical/electronics industry became the most important customer for industrial robots in almost all major Asian markets, e.g. China, Japan, Republic of Korea. Korea leads the way and Singapore has been rapidly catching up with about 90 percent of industrial robots in both countries installed in the electronics industry.  Writing this short post reminds me of the day I spent with Goldstar (now LG ) before the 1988 Seoul Olympics, including a tour of their manufacturing facility for VHS video recorders.   I was struck at the time by the extensive use of robots in the manufacture of videocassette recorders.   Looking ahead, where will this all lead?   Hint:  Korea will likely be a world leader in the emergence of the Internet of things (IoT)

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