North American robotics companies posted the strongest ever first-quarter results, according to the Robotic Industries Association (RIA), the industry’s trade group. Both robot orders and shipments achieved record levels.
An all-time high total of 9,773 robots valued at approximately $516 million were ordered from North American robotics companies during the first quarter of 2017. This represents growth of 32 percent in units over the same period in 2016, which held the previous record. Order revenue grew 28 percent over the first quarter of last year. Robot shipments also reached new heights, with 8,824 robots valued at $494 million shipped to North American customers in the opening quarter of the year. This represents growth of 24 percent in units and five percent in dollars over the same period in 2016.
“The automation industry continues to grow robustly as companies invest to increase productivity and boost competitiveness while also providing opportunities for workers,” said Jeff Burnstein, President of RIA. “We are excited to hear about the new jobs being created and how companies such as Amazon, GM, and others are training and retraining their workforce to enable them to embrace these higher skilled jobs.”
Growth in Automotive Soars: Growth in automotive related industries soared in the first quarter of 2017. Robots ordered by automotive component suppliers were up 53 percent while orders by automotive OEMs increased 32 percent. Another good sign for the future of robotics was the continued growth in non-automotive industries such as metals by 54% … semiconductors and electronics by 22% … and food and consumer goods by 15%.
The biggest increases were in arc welding at 102% … coating & dispensing at 64% … and spot welding at 36% growth. RIA estimates that 250,000 robots are now in use in the United States, the third highest in the world behind Japan and China.
Market Growth Reflected in Automate Attendance: RIA and its parent group, the Association for Advancing Automation (A3), see the impact of the growth in demand for robotics and related automation at industry events such as Automate 2017, recently held in Chicago from April 3-6, 2017. This year’s show featured more than 400 exhibitors displaying their latest technologies and services, including global suppliers of robotics, motion control, motors, vision systems, metrology, software and system integration services for enterprises large and small. Over 20,000 people attended Automate 2017, including over 1,000 participants in the 120+ Automate conference sessions held at the event.
“All of our statistics increased significantly from the last Automate show in 2015,” added Burnstein. “Total number of show attendees jumped 37 percent and conference participation grew by over 90 percent compared to 2015. This growth demonstrates that there is an increasing need for an event like Automate that provides practical, real-world solutions for companies currently automating or considering automation.”
In related news … November conference on collaborative robots and vision
RIA and its sister group, AIA – Advancing Vision + Imaging, are teaming up to bring more content on leading-edge robot and machine vision trends in 2017. The Collaborative Robots & Advanced Vision Conference will take place November 15-16 in San Jose, CA, and will feature presentations from market leaders in robotics, vision, and imaging. More information will be available in the coming weeks on the RIA (www.robotics.org) and AIA (www.visiononline.org) websites.
Founded in 1974, RIA is a not-for-profit trade association driving innovation, growth, and safety in manufacturing and service industries through education, promotion, and advancement of robotics, related automation technologies, and companies delivering integrated solutions. RIA represents some 450 robot manufacturers, system integrators, component suppliers, end users, consulting firms, research groups, and educational institutions. The association hosts a number of educational events including the National Robot Safety Conference (October 10-12, 2017 in Pittsburgh), the Collaborative Robots & Advanced Vision Conference (November 15-16, 2017 in San Jose), the A3 Business Forum (January 17-19, 2018 in Orlando) and the biennial Automate Show & Conference (April 8-11, 2019 in Chicago). RIA also provides quarterly robotics statistics and has a content-rich website, Robotics Online. For more details visit www.robotics.org.
The Association for Advancing Automation is the global advocate for the benefits of automating. A3 promotes automation technologies and ideas that transform the way business is done. A3 is the umbrella group for Robotic Industries Association (RIA), AIA – Advancing Vision + Imaging, and Motion Control & Motor Association (MCMA). RIA, AIA, and MCMA combined represent over 1,000 automation manufacturers, component suppliers, system integrators, end users, research groups and consulting firms from throughout the world that drive automation forward. For more information, visit A3automate.org.