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Automotive industry leads adoption of robotics in North America

May 26, 2023
Robotics sales to North American manufacturers rose 12% in 2022, approaching all-time high

The number one adopter of robotics in North America is auto manufacturers. They are experiencing a cyclical rise in demand for 2022 after a slump in previous years. Overall, the North American robotics market showed strong growth, according to the International Federation of Robotics (IFR). Total installations in manufacturing rose by 12%, reaching 41,624 units in 2022, close to the all-time high in 2018.

“North America represents the second largest operational stock of industrial robots in the world after China,” said Marina Bill, president of IFR. “The United States, Canada and Mexico are key markets in the global growth of robotics automation, and the automotive sector is leading the way.”

The North American automotive industry represented 20,391 of those industrial robot installations, up 30% compared to 2021. Installation counts in other industries exceeding the 4,000-unit mark in North America are: electrical/electronics (+28%), metal and machinery (-9%), and plastic and chemical products (-4%). They each represent a 9% market share of industrial robot installations in 2022.

In the United States, demand from car makers and component manufacturers rose by 48% in 2022. IFR said this cyclical demand pattern is well-known from this industry segment. After a few years of contraction, down from the peak level of 15,397 units in 2017 to 9,854 units in 2021, installations by automotive manufacturers surged to 14,594 units in 2022.

Installation counts in Canada largely depend on investments of the automotive industry, which accounts for 40% of robot installations. Sales to automotive declined by 36% with 1,258 units installed in 2022. This is below the pre-pandemic level of 1,897 units in 2019. The robot installations manufacturing parts and accessories for motor vehicles were significantly down by 45% with 995 units sold. Motor vehicles, engines and bodies on the other hand grew by 99% with 263 units sold.

Robot installations in Mexico are also determined by the automotive industry, which accounted for 66% of the robot installations in 2022. Sales grew by 16% and reached 4,222 units in 2022—the second-best result since the peak level of 4,805 units in record year 2017.

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