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North American Robot Orders Up 34% in First Nine Month of 2010

POSTED 11/01/2010

Arbor, MI – North American based robotics companies reported strong gains in the first nine months of 2010, according to new statistics released by Robotic Industries Association (RIA), the industry’s trade group.

A total of 9,628 robots valued at $618.4 million were ordered through September by North American manufacturing companies. This represents a gain of 34% in units and 45% in dollars over the same period in 2009.  Companies outside of North America ordered another 1,778 robots valued at $102.6 million from North American based robotics companies during the period, a gain of 143% in units and 168% in dollars over the first nine months of 2009.

“Overall, 2010 has been a solid recovery year for the robotics industry in North America,” said Jeff Burnstein, President of RIA.  “What really jumps out at me is that orders placed by non-automotive customers in North America jumped 53% and accounted for 52% of all orders through September.  Orders to automotive-related customers, the largest robotics market, increased 18%, which is still quite healthy given the downsizing in North American automotive manufacturing operations,” Burnstein explained.

Burnstein said the biggest gains in non-automotive orders came in semiconductor/
electonics/photonics (+124%), metals (+99%), plastics & rubber (+62%), life sciences/pharmaceuticals/medical devices (+54%), and food & consumer goods (+41%),

In automotive, the biggest increase was in orders to the automotive component suppliers (+58%) as opposed to the automotive manufacturers (+2%).

In terms of applications, the biggest gains came in orders for coating & dispensing (+78%), arc welding (+65%) and material handling (+60%).

Burnstein expects to see continued growth in the material handling sector, the largest application area for robots, as robots expand into more industries.

“Material handling is important to just about every industry and robots are reaching new users all the time,” he said.  “A number of great robot applications for material handling will be showcased at the Automate 2011 show next March 21-24 in Chicago, which will be collocated with ProMat, the leading show for material handling and logistics in North America.”

Another bright spot in the nine-month report is that robot orders in Canada jumped 67% in units.  Canada accounts for about nine percent of the North American market.

RIA estimates that over 200,000 robots are now at work in U.S. factories, placing the United States second to Japan in overall robot use.  More than one million robots are now being used worldwide.

“The increases we’re currently seeing reflect the value that robots are providing to US companies in improved productivity and enhanced global competitiveness,” said John Dulchinos, President & CEO of Adept Technology, who is Chair of the RIA Statistics Committee.

Founded in 1974, RIA currently represents some 235 robotics manufacturers, system integrators, component suppliers, end users, consulting groups, and research organizations.  In addition to its biennial trade show and conference (now known as Automate, previously known as the International Robots, Vision & Motion Control Show), RIA is best-known for developing the ANSI/RIA National Robot Safety Standard, the annual Robotics Industry Forum (next event slated for January 19-21, 2011 in Orlando, Florida), and Robotics Online, the world’s leading site for robotics information.

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

Contact:  Jeff Burnstein