Q1 robot orders surge 31%

North American robotics companies report first quarter sales were the best since 2007, according to the Robotic Industries Association.

May 4, 2011   by PLANT STAFF

ANN ARBOR, Mich.: North American robotics companies may see orders disrupted over the next quarter or two because of the supply chain disruptions in Japan, but first quarter sales were the best since 2007, according to statistics released by the Robotic Industries Association (RIA).

The industry trade group based in Ann Arbor, Mich. reports 4,021 robots valued at $263.5 million were ordered by North American manufacturers through March, representing 31% more units and a 27% increase in dollars compared to Q1 IN 2010.

“We’re very encouraged by the strong start to 2011 as a follow-up to the unit growth of 39% in 2010,” said Jeff Burnstein, RIA’s president. “However, we are a bit cautious about the next few quarters due to interruptions in the supply chain caused by the earthquake and tsunami in Japan.”

RIA said that much of the growth came from the automotive industry, saw sales rise 64%.


Non-automotive orders were up just 3% but the metals sector jumped 73% and life sciences/pharmaceutical/biomedical orders gained 61%.

“The automotive industry remains highly-cyclical and right now we’re riding the upsurge in terms of automotive investment in robotics and automation,” said John Dulchinos, president and CEO at Adept Technology Inc. and chair of RIA’s Statistics Committee.

RIA estimates more than one million industrial robots are used worldwide.

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