Robotics Industry Off to Fastest Start Ever
First Quarter Orders Up 30% in North America
Ann Arbor, MI – The North American robotics industry had its best opening quarter ever, with new robot orders up 30%, according to new statistics released by Robotic Industries Association (RIA), the industry’s trade group headquartered here.
A total of 5,316 robots valued at $302.5 million were ordered by North American manufacturing companies in the January-March period. An additional 272 robots valued at $18 million were ordered by manufacturing companies outside North America.
‘‘It was an outstanding quarter, one of the best since we started tracking robot sales in 1983,’‘ said Donald A. Vincent, Executive Vice President of RIA.
Material handling, the largest robotics application, posted a 67% gain over the first quarter 2004 results. Arc welding applications jumped 76% and coating/dispensing orders rose 49%.
Automotive manufacturers and suppliers accounted for about 70% of the orders in the first quarter. In non-automotive sectors, strong growth was seen in primary metals industries (+63%) and food & consumer goods (+33%).
‘‘The strong first quarter results, continuing the double-digit gains of the past two years, show that North American companies increasingly recognize the benefits robots provide in terms of quality improvement, productivity, and cost savings. If economic conditions remain healthy, we expect 2005 to be a very good year for the North American robotics industry,’‘ said Vincent.
RIA estimates that some 147,000 robots are now being used in factories in the United States. Vincent says that there are thousands of small and medium sized companies, as well as large companies in many industries, that have yet to install their first robot. ‘‘Though robots have been used in the U.S. for over 40 years, we have still only scraped the surface of potential applications. Each day, as awareness of robotics benefits spreads, new companies are taking a close look at robots to see if they make sense for their company.’‘
Vincent said one way that RIA tracks the increased interest in robotics is by visits to its Robotics Online website (www.robotics.org). The site averaged about 90,000 visitors per month in the first quarter, a 47% rise over the same period last year.
‘‘The demand for robotics information and education grows every day, so RIA is providing new resources for prospective users as well as experienced users. One of the best ways to learn about robotics will be at the upcoming International Robots & Vision Show in Rosemont, Illinois, September 27-29. We’ll have exhibits from more than 125 leading companies, practical conference sessions on how to successfully apply robots, and a look at some emerging robot applications for the medical, security, and consumer industries,’‘ Vincent explained.
Founded in 1974, RIA represents more than 230 robot manufacturers, component suppliers, system integrators, end users, research groups, and consulting firms. RIA statistics are provided by member companies and represent an estimated 90% of the North American robotics market.
For complete details on RIA and the robotics industry, visit www.robortics.org or call RIA Headquarters at 734/994-6088.