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North American robotics industry posts best quarter ever, according to new statistics from RIA

Industry trade group reports more than 10,000 robots for nearly $750 million sold in North America in the first half of the year.
By Modern Materials Handling Staff
August 10, 2012

North American robotics companies sold more industrial robots in the second quarter of 2012 than any previous quarter in history, according to new statistics released by Robotic Industries Association (RIA), the industry’s trade group.
A total of 5,556 robots valued at $403.1 million were sold to North American companies, a jump of 14% in units and 28% in dollars over the same quarter in 2011.  Orders in the first half of 2012 totaled 10,652 robots valued at $747 million, increases of 20% in units and 29% in dollars over the same period last year.

“Obviously, we’re thrilled about the great results so far this year,” said Jeff Burnstein, President of RIA.  The strong sales reflect increased demand for robotics in industries such as automotive, plastics & rubber, and metals.  However, as the economy slows, it’s not clear that these numbers will remain as strong heading forward.”

Orders for spot welding robots, used primarily in automotive solutions, jumped 68% in the first half of 2012.  Other big jumps were seen in coating & dispensing (+42%), arc welding (+20%), and assembly (+19%).  Material removal orders, a smaller application area, rose 364 percent.

Automotive related orders accounted for 65% of units and 64% of dollars in the first half of 2012.  This represents sharp gains of 44% in units and 56% in dollars over the opening half of 2011.

“It’s great that the auto related numbers continue to post huge gains, but as we know, automotive industry purchases are cyclical,” Burnstein explained.  “However, we were disappointed to see non-automotive related orders fall eight percent in units and one percent in dollars in the first half of the year, with even sharper declines in the second quarter alone.”

RIA estimates that some 220,000 robots are now used in the United States, placing the US second only to Japan in robot use.

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

For more information on RIA and the robotics industry, visit Robotics Online at http://www.robotics.org or contact RIA Headquarters at 734/994-6088.

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About the Author

Josh Bond, Associate Editor
Josh Bond is an associate editor to Modern. Josh was formerly Modern’s lift truck columnist and contributing editor, has a degree in Journalism from Keene State College and has studied business management at Franklin Pierce. Contact Josh Bond


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