Automation: Robotics orders jump 41% in first half of 2011

Fueled by its best quarter in six years, the North American robotics industry jumped 41% in the first half of 2011, according to new statistics released by Robotic Industries Association (RIA), the industry trade group.

By ·

Fueled by its best quarter in six years, the North American robotics industry jumped 41% in the first half of 2011, according to new statistics released by Robotic Industries Association (RIA), the industry trade group.

A total of 8879 robots valued at $577.8 million were ordered by North American companies in the first six months of the year. When orders from outside North America are added, the totals are 10,476 robots valued at $667.9 million. “This was the best first half for our industry since 2007,” said Jeff Burnstein, President of RIA.

The second quarter was particularly strong, posting gains of 50% in units and 55% in dollars over the same period in 2010.

Burnstein attributed the majority of growth to increased orders from automotive manufacturers and their suppliers, traditionally the largest customer for robotics. “With the revitalization of the auto industry in the US, robot orders to these customers rose 60% in the first half of the year,” he said.

Non-automotive orders increased 23% through June, led by gains in metalworking (up 70%).

Burnstein said some non-automotive customers who were slow to purchase robots in the first quarter accelerated their buying in the second quarter of the year.

“Food and Consumer goods customers placed orders for 60% more robots in the second quarter of 2011 than in the first, hopefully a sign of strong growth going forward in this sector,” he noted.

“The North American robotics industry is on pace for its best year since 2005 in terms of new order volumes, but this could be threatened if there is an economic downturn caused by the lack of an agreement in Washington on raising the debt ceiling,” Burnstein observed.

Burnstein did cite one recent positive development from Washington, the creation of a $500 million Advanced Manufacturing Partnership that includes $70 million for a National Robotics Initiative.

“This could have a very positive long-term effect in keeping the US a leader in robotics, both inside the factory and in a wide-range of non-industrial robotics sectors,” he said.

RIA estimates that some 205,000 robots are now used in the United States. More than one million industrial robots are used worldwide.

Founded in 1974, RIA represents some 265 companies, including leading robot manufacturers, component suppliers, system integrators, end users, research groups and consulting firms. RIA’s quarterly statistics report is based on data supplied by member companies representing an estimated 90% of the North American market.


Subscribe to Modern Materials Handling Magazine!

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Find out what the world’s most innovative companies are doing to improve productivity in their plants and distribution centers.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Latest Whitepaper
Your Guide to Voice for the Warehouse
Is voice a good fit for my operation? How would voice work in my warehouse? With the help of the Vitech Guide to Voice, you can find all the answers to your voice questions in one place.
Download Today!
From the October 2017 Modern Materials Handling Issue
An early adopter, Rochester Drug Cooperative is using robotic piece-picking technology to complement picking of slow-moving items. System report for Rochester Drug Cooperative, Robotic picking and inventory management, Innovative distribution center robotics solutions , IAM Robotics case study
Injecting agility into WMS implementation
The Big Picture: Business as Unusual
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
Latest Webcast
The State of the DC Voice Market
A lot has changed in the last 10 years, especially in voice technology. This webinar will cover the state of the voice market, review two leading voice solutions and help you gain a better understanding of the options and capabilities available today.
Register Today!
EDITORS' PICKS
Rochester Drug Cooperative: Robots ready for work
It’s still early stages, but Rochester Drug Cooperative is proving that mobile robotic piece...
Manufacturing Day: 2,716 events from Hawaii to Alaska to Puerto Rico
Events to be scheduled throughout the month, so the remaining 249,185 manufacturing firms in the...

System Report: Pouch sorter powers Stage’s fulfillment needs
How a hometown department store chain transformed its e-fulfillment processes with pouch sortation...
Cubing and Weighing Equipment: Measure Up
The use of cubing and weighing equipment is growing beyond dimensional weight applications.