A total of 27,685 robots valued at $1.6 billion were ordered from North American companies during 2014, an increase of 28% in units and 19% in dollars over 2013, according to Robotic Industries Association (RIA), the industry’s trade group.
Robot shipments also set new records, with 25,425 robots valued at $1.5 billion being shipped to North American customers in 2014.
Shipments grew 13% in units and 6% in dollars over the previous records set in 2013.
“Record sales performance, groundbreaking innovation, and increasing consumer interest all make the robotics industry so dynamic,” said Jeff Burnstein, president of RIA.
The automotive industry was the primary driver of growth in 2014, with robot orders increasing 45% year over year.
Non-automotive industries also performed well throughout the year, growing seven percent in total over 2013. The standout non-automotive industries in 2014 in terms of order growth were plastics and rubber (25%), semiconductor and electronics (21%), and metals (16%).
The fastest growing applications for robot orders in North America in 2014 were arc welding (+58%), spot welding (+57%), assembly (+16%), and material handling (+11%).
RIA estimates that some 230,000 robots are now at use in United States factories, placing the U.S. second only to Japan in robot use.