North American robotics industry off to a great start in 2012.
According to statistics released by the Robotic Industries Association (RIA), North American robotics companies enjoyed one of the industry’s strongest opening quarters ever.
A total of 5,096 robots valued at $343.8 million were ordered from North American robotics companies through March 2012, meaning an increase of 27 per cent in units and 30 per cent in dollars over the same period in 2011.
A total of 4,605 robots valued at $299.6 million were shipped to North American customers in the first quarter, the best opening quarter ever for shipments.
“It’s clear that the strong demand we saw in our record-breaking year of 2011 has continued into 2012,” says RIA president Jeff Burnstein. “The activity is especially strong among automotive OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) and tier suppliers, where robot orders jumped 42 per cent in the first quarter over a year ago.
“In fact, automotive-related orders accounted for 65 per cent of the new orders in the first quarter of 2012. Non-automotive orders grew six percent.”
The demand from the automotive sector also led to a change in the leading application area. Material handling robots have accounted for the most sales in recent years, but were overtaken in the first quarter by welding and soldering robots, typically found in automotive related applications.
A strong spot in the non-automotive sector was food and consumer goods, where orders jumped 31 per cent in Q1 of 2012.
“What we’re seeing in North America is consistent with what we’re seeing all over the world,” said John Dulchinos, president and chief executive officer at Adept Technology and chair of RIA’s Statistical Collection Committee. “Robotics and automation is reaching every industry, driven by the need for increased productivity, quality, flexibility and speed.”
The RIA estimates that some 216,000 robots are now used in the U.S., placing it second only to Japan in robot use.
Founded in 1974, the RIA represents some 265 member companies, including leading robot manufacturers, system integrators, end users, research groups, and consulting firms. RIA’s quarterly statistics report is based on data supplied by member companies representing an estimated 90 per cent of the North American market.
For more information on RIA and the robotics industry, visit www.robotics.org or call 734-994-6088.