North American Robotics Market Records Strongest Opening Quarter Ever

A total of 7,406 robots valued at approximately $402 million were ordered from North American companies during the first quarter of 2016.

The North American robotics market has set new records to begin 2016, according to Robotic Industries Association (RIA), the industry's trade group.


A total of 7,406 robots valued at approximately $402 million were ordered from North American companies during the first quarter of 2016. The number of units ordered in the first three months of 2016 is a new record among opening quarters, growing seven percent over the same period in 2015. Order revenue, however, decreased by eight percent in the first quarter. Robot shipments also set a new opening quarter record, with 7,125 robots valued at $448 million being shipped to North American customers. This represents growth of two percent in units and 21% in dollars over the same quarter of last year.

"It is encouraging to see so many new companies adopting robotics for use in their operations," said Jeff Burnstein, President of RIA. "Companies of all sizes are realizing that robots are more affordable than ever before and can help them increase their productivity to remain competitive in today's global economy."

Growth in Non-Automotive industries soared in the first quarter of 2016. Robots ordered by the Semiconductor & Electronics (90%), Food & Consumer Goods (82%), and Plastics & Rubber (44%) industries all experienced sizable increases over the same period in 2015. While it is still the largest industry in terms of volume for robotics, orders to the Automotive industry grew only one percent in the first quarter of 2016. In terms of applications, the biggest increases were realized in Spot Welding (31%), Assembly (15%), and Material handling (six percent).

"As the technology behind robots is evolving, the number of tasks they are able to perform is increasing," said Jeff Burnstein, President of RIA. "Today more than ever, robots can handle complex tasks at fast speeds, leading to high productivity for customers. Disruptive innovations like collaborative robots are helping to drive adoption of robotics in new and exciting ways, and that is promising for the future of our industry."

Burnstein noted that the RIA and its sister group AIA - Advancing Vision + Imaging, are seeing the impacts of the growth in demand for robotics and related automation in upcoming events like the International Collaborative Robots Workshop and The Vision Show, slated for May 3-5, 2016 in Boston. "Collaborative robots are the hottest topic in robotics today, and we will have a record turnout in Boston for the workshop," he said. "The Vision Show is also expected to have record attendance this year," Burnstein added. Registration and free show passes are available now, visit Robotics Online and Vision Online respectively for more information on these two collocated events.
RIA estimates that some 262,000 robots are now at use in North American factories, which is third to Japan and China in robot use.

About Robotic Industries Association (RIA)
Founded in 1974, RIA is a not-for-profit trade association driving innovation, growth, and safety in manufacturing and service industries through education, promotion, and advancement of robotics, related automation technologies, and companies delivering integrated solutions. RIA represents 390 robot manufacturers, system integrators, component suppliers, end users, consulting firms, research groups, and educational institutions. The association hosts a number of events including the International Collaborative Robots Workshop (May 3-4, 2016 in Boston & October 20, 2016 in Cincinnati), the National Robot Safety Conference (October 17-19, 2016 in Cincinnati), the Robotics Industry Forum (January 18-20, 2017 in Orlando) and the biennial Automate Show & Conference (April 3-6, 2017 in Chicago). RIA also provides quarterly robotics statistics and has a content-rich website, Robotics Online. For more details on RIA, visit Robotics Online or call 734/994-6088.

About Association for Advancing Automation (A3)
The Association for Advancing Automation is the global advocate for the benefits of automating. A3 promotes automation technologies and ideas that transform the way business is done. A3 is the umbrella group for Robotic Industries Association (RIA), AIA - Advancing Vision + Imaging, and Motion Control & Motor Association (MCMA). RIA, AIA, and MCMA combined represent some 940 automation manufacturers, component suppliers, system integrators, end users, research groups and consulting firms from throughout the world that drive automation forward. For more information, please visit our websites: A3; RIA; AIA; MCMA.

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