North American Robotics Market Sets New First Quarter Shipments Record

Strongest First Quarter on Record with $507 Million in Shipments


ANN ARBOR, MI - May 11, 2018 - A record number of robots were shipped to North American companies in the first quarter of 2018, according to the Robotic Industries Association (RIA), the industry's trade group. Both units shipped and shipment revenue achieved record levels. New robot orders decreased over the same period, but still posted the second best quarter ever to begin a year.

Robot shipments reached new heights, with 10,730 robots valued at $507 million shipped to North American customers in the opening quarter of the year. This represents growth of 22 percent in units and three percent in dollars over the same period in 2017. North American customers ordered 8,161 new robots valued at $437 million in the first quarter, which is the second best start to a year ever despite contractions of 17 percent and 15 percent respectively from the first quarter of 2017 (the all-time high).

Growth in Non-Automotive Soars
Growth in non-automotive related industries soared in the first quarter of 2018. Notable industries which experienced the most growth, in terms of units shipped, were life sciences (262%), plastics/rubber (130%), and food/consumer goods (64%). Shipments to the automotive OEM sector were down 43 percent, while units shipped to the automotive component industry increased 42 percent.

Despite decreasing overall, non-automotive robot orders increased as well with life sciences (184%), plastics/rubber (100%), and metals (three percent) leading the way. The decrease in order volume during the first quarter primarily came from a slowdown in automotive OEM sales, contracting 70% in units and 53% in revenue compared to the first quarter of 2017.
RIA estimates that 250,000 robots are now in use in the United States, the third highest in the world behind Japan and China.

"In the past when the automotive market retracted, the entire robotics industry would decrease along with it," said Jeff Burnstein, President of RIA. "The fact that we're seeing significant growth in non-automotive industries bodes well for the robotics industry as a whole. The automation industry continues to grow robustly as companies invest to increase productivity and quality while boosting competitiveness and also providing opportunities for workers."

RIA's Fall Events Set
RIA's premier robot safety event is taking place in Detroit, MI at the Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center on October 9-11, 2018. This year marks the event's 30th anniversary and as a result of a growing international attendance and perspective, RIA's safety conference has been rebranded as the International Robot Safety Conference. To learn more, please visit our website.

RIA and its sister group, AIA - Advancing Vision + Imaging, are again teaming up to bring more content on leading-edge robot, machine vision, and AI trends in 2018. The Collaborative Robots, Advanced Vision & Artificial Intelligence Conference will take place October 24-25, 2018 in Santa Clara, CA. This conference will feature presentations from market leaders in robotics, vision, and AI. It will also include two days of tabletop exhibits. For more information, please visit the event page.

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 some 475 robot manufacturers, system integrators, component suppliers, end users, consulting firms, research groups, and educational institutions. The association hosts a number of educational events including the International Robot Safety Conference (October 9-11, 2018 in Detroit), the Collaborative Robots, Advanced Vision & AI Conference (October 24-25, 2018 in Santa Clara, CA), the A3 Business Forum (January 14-16, 2019 in Orlando) and the biennial Automate Show & Conference (April 8-11, 2019 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, Motion Control & Motor Association (MCMA) and A3 Mexico. RIA, AIA, MCMA and A3 Mexico combined represent over 1,070 automation manufacturers, component suppliers, system integrators, end users, research groups and consulting firms from throughout the world that drive automation forward. For more information, visit: A3; RIA; AIA; MCMA; A3 Mexico.

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