North American robotics suppliers saw orders leap 36 percent in the first half of 2005, putting the industry on pace for a record year, according to new statistics released by Robotic Industries Association (RIA, Ann Arbor, Mich.), the industry’s trade group.
A total of 10,712 robots valued at $638.9 million were ordered by North American companies through June. When orders from companies outside North America are included, overall sales for North American robot suppliers totaled 11,381 robots valued at $673.1 million in the first half of 2005.
The April through June quarter was the robotics industry’s best quarter ever, with 5,396 robots valued at $336.3 million ordered by North American manufacturing companies.
‘‘We’ve been tracking the industry on a quarterly basis since 1983 and can report that there were more robots ordered in the second quarter of 2005 than in any previous quarter,’‘ said Donald A. Vincent, executive vice president of RIA. The first half surge was led by demand for robots that perform applications such as material handling and arc welding. Orders in the automotive and metalworking industries were especially strong.
‘‘Experienced users such as the automotive manufacturers are now finding expanded uses for robots as they strive to reduce costs, improve productivity, and speed time to market with their new products. New users are turning to robots to help them become globally competitive and to keep manufacturing jobs at home,” Vincent said.
Though RIA does not track non-manufacturing applications of robots, Vincent said that robotics technology is gaining traction outside of the factory as well. ‘‘From outer space to hospital rooms to living rooms, robots are playing a larger role than ever, and we expect to see this trend continue,” he noted.
Vincent expects the robotics industry to get a further boost from this year’s International Robots & Vision Show set for September 27-29, 2005 at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center (Rosemont, Ill). The theme this year is ‘Strengthening Industry’ which focuses on how robots are helping companies in every industry become stronger global competitors.
RIA estimates that more than 150,000 robots are now at work in factories in the United States, placing the U.S. second only to Japan in terms of robot use.
For more information about RIA and the robotics industry, visit www.roboticsonline.com.