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North American Robot Orders Jump 24% in 2007

POSTED 02/21/2008



Thursday, February 21, 2008 (Robotics Online) Ann Arbor, Michigan – North American based robotics companies saw orders to North American manufacturing companies rise 24% in 2007, reversing the declines of the previous year, according to a new report released by Robotic Industries Association (RIA), the industry’s trade group.

A total of 15,856 robots valued at $1.07 billion were ordered by North American manufacturing companies.  When sales to companies outside North America are included, the totals rise to 17,261 robots valued at $1.15 billion

‘‘We’re obviously very pleased to see strong growth in 2007, especially following the 30% decline in 2006,’‘ said Åke Lindqvist of ABB Robotics and Chairman of RIA’s Statistics Committee.

‘‘Most of the growth last year resulted from sales to automotive manufacturers and their suppliers.  In this market segment, which accounted for 64% of all orders, robot sales in North America rose 43%,’‘ Lindqvist noted.

‘‘Orders to non-automotive markets grew less than one percent and accounted for just 36% of all orders.  The robotics industry’s future expansion depends upon reaching more non-automotive customers and we still have a long way to go.  However, we are encouraged by a 16% gain in sales to life sciences/pharmaceutical/biomedical customers and an eight percent increase in sales to food and consumer goods companies,’‘ Lindqvist added.

‘‘Automotive purchases of robots remain cyclical and our members are quite used to this pattern,’‘ said Jeffrey A. Burnstein, Executive Vice President of RIA.  ‘‘For instance, as automotive companies went on a buying spree in 2007, orders for spot welding robots increased 100%, coating & dispensing rose 38%, material handling jumped 14% and arc welding jumped 10%,’‘ Burnstein explained.

In 2008, RIA has major plans in place to help reach new customers in non-automotive markets, Burnstein indicated.  ‘‘Our Robots 2008 Conference (June 11 & 12, Boston) will focus on industries such as food, medical and pharmaceutical.  We’ll present case studies, business justifications for using robots in these industries, and practical applications knowledge that attendees can put to immediate use.

‘‘And, we’re also in the process of revamping our Robotics Online website ( to add more information for non-automotive customers.  Our latest addition is a tutorial aimed at companies involved in the plastics industry – we have a free tutorial that makes a strong case for using robots in various plastics industry applications, ‘‘  Burnstein said.

RIA estimates that some 178,000 robots are now at work in U.S. factories, placing the U.S. second only to Japan in overall robot use.  More than one million robots are installed worldwide.

Founded in 1974, RIA represents more than 270 North American 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.

For more information about RIA and the robotics industry, visit or contact RIA Headquarters at 734-994-6088.