July 29, 2014
Fueled by strong demand from manufacturing companies in all sectors, the North American robotics industry is off to its fastest start ever in 2014, according to new statistics released from Robotic Industries Association (RIA), Ann Arbor, Mich.
A record 14,135 robots valued at $788 million were ordered from North American robotics companies in the first half of 2014, an increase of 30 percent in units and 16 percent in revenue over the same period in 2013. The second quarter of 2014 was the main driver of the market’s record first half, with 8,197 robots valued at $450 million sold to North American customers. This performance shattered the previous record for a single quarter, exceeding the fourth quarter of 2012 by 31 percent in units and 17 percent in revenue.
Since 2010 the robotics market in North America has grown an average of 26 percent per year. At the same time the unemployment rate in the U.S. has fallen precipitously over this period. The unemployment rate reached 6.1 percent in June of this year, the lowest it has been since September 2008.
The automotive industry had the biggest impact on the second quarter’s performance, with 97 percent more units ordered over the same quarter in 2013. No-automotive industries such as semiconductors, life sciences, and food and consumer goods continued to grow by 22 percent over the first half of 2013, but the strongest growth came in automotive-related industries. Robots ordered from automotive OEM and component industries grew by 36 percent in the first half of 2014.
RIA estimates that about 230,000 robots are now at use in U.S. factories, placing the U.S. second only to Japan in robot use.