Robot Sales Continue to Rise in North America
James Anderton posted on December 11, 2019 |
Robotic Industries Association (RIA) statistics report more than 5% increase

Like any industry, robotics has its up and downs. The latest from the Robotic Industries Association (RIA) indicates that sales are up 5.2 percent through the third quarter compared to 2018. Those numbers equate to 23,894 robotic units worth $1.3 billion.

For the third quarter only, companies purchased 7,446 robots, for a total of $438 million and a 1 percent increase in both orders and revenue. That is good news for the industry considering that in the first quarter, 7,876 robots worth $423 million were ordered, which was down 3.5 percent in units and 3.2 percent in revenue.

Following the trend for years, the automotive industry remained the largest industry acquiring robots at 47 percent. The other largest drivers for orders was plastics and rubber, 15 percent, and food and consumer goods, 4 percent.

“We continue to see improvement in the robotics market,” said Jeff Burnstein, president of A3 and RIA. “At this time last year we saw a dip in orders of around 15 percent, so it’s encouraging to see a recovery through the third quarter. We hope to end the year strong and see growth in 2020 as well.”

In 2018, the automotive industry slowed with only 19,178 total shipment to North America, which was a 12 percent decrease from the 21,732 in 2017. Additionally, the automotive industry accounted for 53 percent of sales. If this year’s numbers continue, it could indicate the growth of robotic to smaller sectors. Currently, non-automotive industries purchasing robots are at a record high.

According to Burnstein, based on RIA’s recent Collaborative Robots, Advanced Vision and AI Conference in San Jose, Calif., November 12-13, all signs seem to pointing that way. Among the more than 300 attendees at the event, many were from non-automotive industries beginning to see the benefits robotics can provide. The emerging markets of service and cobots factors into that increase.

Innovations in service robots could bring more industries into the fold for robotic orders and revenue. (Image courtesy of RIA.)
Innovations in service robots could bring more industries into the fold for robotic orders and revenue. (Image courtesy of RIA.)

“As we’ve heard from our members and at shows such as Automate, these sales and shipments aren’t just to large, multinational companies anymore,” Burnstein said after the second quarter results were released. “Small and medium-sized companies are using robots to solve real-world challenges, which is helping them be more competitive on a global scale.”

With the numbers continue to rise, research continues to take robotics to new levels that could lead to further increases in other sectors. To learn more about recent innovations, check out Samsung to Roll Out Consumer Robots Over the Coming Year and ABB Demonstrates Concept of Mobile Laboratory Robot for Hospital of the Future.


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