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Robotics Have Best-Ever Opening Quarter
May 6, 2013
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The North American robotics industry had its best-ever opening quarter in terms of robots ordered and shipped, according to first quarter 2013 data from the Robotic Industries Association (RIA).

North American robotics companies received orders 5,833 robots, valued at $341.2 million, in the January-March 2013 quarter. That total is a 14.5% increase in units from the first quarter of 2012 and was 10% higher than the previous 1Q record, set in 1Q 2005.

1Q 2013 shipments to North American customers were for 5,736 robots, with a value of $369.5, topping the previous first quarter records, set in 2012, by 24.6% in units and 23.3% in dollars.

“It is great to see the record demand for robots continuing into 2013, following our record-breaking year in 2012,” said RIA President Jeff Burnstein. “While activity continues to be strong with automotive OEMs and tier suppliers, the real story is the resurgence of other industries. Non-automotive orders grew 15% over 2012.”

The biggest unit growth in applications was seen in two applications that are historically strong for robotics:
• arc welding, up 46.2%
• material handling, up 25.1%

RIA estimates about 228,000 robots are now used in U.S. factories, putting the United States behind only Japan in terms of robot use.

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