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Q1 NA robotics shipments best ever: RIA

North American robotics companies have experienced one of its strongest opening quarters ever, says the Robotic Industries Association (RIA).


May 2, 2012
by PLANT STAFF

ANN ARBOR, Mich.: North American robotics companies have experienced one of its strongest opening quarters ever, says the Robotic Industries Association (RIA).

The North American industry’s trade association said 5,096 robots valued at $343.8 million were ordered through March, which represents a 27% increase in the number of units 30% increase in dollar value over Q1 in 2011.

And the RIA, based in Ann Arbor, Mich., says it was the best quarter ever for shipments with 4,605 robots valued at $299.6 million arriving at North American customers’ doors.

“It’s clear that the strong demand we saw in our record-breaking year of 2011 has continued into 2012,” said Jeff Burnstein, president of RIA.

The activity is especially strong among automotive OEMs and tier suppliers, where robot orders jumped 42% in the first quarter over a year ago.

“In fact, automotive-related orders accounted for 65% of the new orders in the first quarter of 2012. Non-automotive orders grew 6%,” Burnstein said.

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% in the first quarter 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 CEO at Adept Technology in Pleasanton, Calif. 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.”