Robot Orders Surge 31% in First Quarter of 2011

North American robotics companies enjoyed their best opening quarter since 2007, according to new statistics released by Robotic Industries Association (RIA), the industry’s trade group.

North American robotics companies enjoyed their best opening quarter since 2007, according to new statistics released by Robotic Industries Association (RIA), the industry’s trade group.


A total of 4,021 robots valued at $263.5 million were ordered by North American manufacturing companies through March, an increase of 31% in units and 27% in dollars.

“We’re very encouraged by the strong start to 2011 as a follow-up to the unit growth of 39% in 2010,” said Jeff Burnstein, RIA’s President. “However, we are a bit cautious about the next few quarters due to interruptions in the supply chain caused by the earthquake and tsunami in Japan.”

RIA said that much of the new order growth in the first quarter came from the automotive industry, where unit growth jumped 64%. While non-automotive orders increased just three percent overall, the metals sector jumped 73% and life sciences/pharmaceutical/biomedical gained 61%.

“The automotive industry remains highly-cyclical and right now we’re riding the upsurge in terms of automotive investment in robotics and automation,” said John Dulchinos, Chair of RIA’s Statistics Committee and President & CEO at Adept Technology, Inc.

RIA estimates that some 203,000 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.

For more information on RIA and the robotics industry, visit www.robotics.org or call RIA Headquarters at 734/994-6088.

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