Robot orders and shipments in North America set new records in 2015, according to Robotic Industries Association (RIA), the industry’s trade group.
According to the RIA, a total of 31,464 robots valued at $1.8 billion were ordered from North American companies during 2015, an increase of 14% in units and 11% in dollars over 2014. Robot shipments also set new records, with 28,049 robots valued at $1.6 billion shipped to North American customers in 2015. Shipments grew 10% in units and nine percent in dollars over the previous records set in 2014.
The automotive industry was the primary driver of growth in 2015, with robot orders increasing 19% year over year. Non-automotive robot orders grew five percent over 2014.
The leading non-automotive industry in 2015 in terms of order growth was semiconductors and electronics at 35%.
According to Alex Shikany, director of market analysis for RIA, the fastest growing applications for robot orders in North America in 2015 included the following:
- Coating and Dispensing (+49%)
- Material Handling (+24%) and
- Spot Welding (+22%).
RIA estimates that some 260,000 robots are now at use in North American factories, which is third to Japan and China in robot use.
“Today there are more opportunities than ever before in the robotics industry,” said Jeff Burnstein, president of RIA. “The continuing growth in robotics is opening many new job opportunities for people who can program, install, run and maintain robots. In fact, if you look closer at the jobs discussion, automation is helping to save and create jobs. A lot of companies tell us they wouldn’t be in business without robotics and related automation.”
Burnstein added that the RIA and its sister group Advancing Vision + Imaging (AIA) are also seeing the impacts of the growth in demand for automation in upcoming events like the International Collaborative Robots Workshop and The Vision Show, both slated for May 3 to 5, 2016, in Boston, Mass.
“Collaborative robots are the hottest topic in robotics today, and we are expecting a strong turnout in Boston for the workshop,” he said. “With interest in vision and imaging at an all-time high, AIA expects its flagship trade show, The Vision Show, to draw record attendance this year."
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