Last year was a good one for North American robotics companies: orders from worldwide customers were up 52%, reports the Robotic Industries Association.
ANN ARBOR, Mich.: Last year was a good one for North American robotics companies, in fact, it was the best year since 2007, according to new statistics released by the Robotic Industries Association (RIA).
Robot suppliers reported orders were up 39% from 2009 to almost 13,200 units, and dollars increased 49% to $845.6 million. When orders from customers outside North America are included, RIA says orders were up 52% to almost 15,860 units valued at $993.2 million, and increase of 58%.
The automotive industry, including OEMs and their suppliers, accounted for 51% of the unit orders, which increased 34%. Non-automotive orders jumped 46%, driven by big gains from metalworking (90%), semiconductor/electronics/photonics (66%), plastics and rubber (57%), food and consumer goods (+47%), and pharmaceuticals/medical devices (26%).
John Dulchinos, chair of RIA’s statistics committee and president and CEO of robotics manufacturer Adept Technology, stressed the need for robotics to expand into other industry sectors, including those not involved in manufacturing.
He cited warehousing as a sector with “strong potential” for robotics.
“Large distribution centres have a wide variety of tasks that could be automated, but aren’t yet,” he says.
RIA, based in Ann Arbor, represents more than 250 companies, including robot manufacturers, component suppliers, system integrators, end users, research groups, and consulting firms.