Robot orders and shipments in North America set new records in the first nine months of 2015, according to Robotic Industries Association (RIA) (robotics.org), the industry’s trade group.
A total of 22,427 robots valued at $1.3 billion were ordered from North American companies in the first nine months of 2015, an increase of six percent in units and nine percent in dollars over the same period in 2014, which held the previous record. Robot shipments to North American customers through September totaled 21,436 robots valued at $1.2 billion, breaking the previous record set in 2014 by 16% in units and 10% in dollars.
Sales activity continued to be strong in both automotive and non-automotive industries. Automotive related orders were up six percent through September, while orders to non-automotive industries such as electronics, food & consumer goods, and metals increased five percent over 2014.
“Demand for robots is at an all-time high, and companies of all sizes, in all sectors of the economy, are realizing the benefits of automation,” says Jeff Burnstein, president of RIA. “Robots are optimizing production more than ever, increasing global competitiveness, and performing dull, dirty and dangerous tasks that enable companies to create higher-skilled, better-paying, and safer jobs for their employees.”
“Even with the record sales of robots, the unemployment rate in the U.S. continues to be at its lowest rate of 5.1% since 2008,” says Alex Shikany, RIA director of market analysis. “This data confirms what is detailed in our recent white paper ‘Robots Fuel the Next Wave of U.S. Productivity and Job Growth’ which illustrates how increasing use of robots is associated with increased employment.”
RIA estimates that some 236,000 robots are now at use in United States factories, placing the US second only to Japan in robot use.