North American Robot Orders Up 34%
Nov 15, 2010
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North American based robotics companies saw strong gains in the first nine months of 2010, with particularly strong demand from non-automotive manufacturers, according to new statistics released by the Robotic Industries Association (RIA).

RIA said 9628 robots, valued at $618.4 million, were ordered through September by North American manufacturing companies. This represents a gain of 34% in units and 45% in dollars over the same period in 2009.

Companies outside of North America ordered another 1778 robots valued at $102.6 million from North American based robotics companies during the period, a gain of 143% in units and 168% in dollars over the first nine months of 2009.

“Overall, 2010 has been a solid recovery year for the robotics industry in North America,” said RIA President Jeff Burnstein,. “What really jumps out at me is that orders placed by non-automotive customers in North America jumped 53% and accounted for 52% of all orders through September. Orders to automotive-related customers, the largest robotics market, increased 18%, which is still quite healthy given the downsizing in North American automotive manufacturing operations,” Burnstein explained.

Burnstein said the biggest gains in non-automotive orders came in:
• semiconductor/electonics/photonics (+124%)
• metals (+99%)
• plastics & rubber (+62%)
• life sciences/pharmaceuticals/medical devices (+54%)
• food & consumer goods (+41%)

In terms of applications, the biggest gains came in orders for coating & dispensing (+78%), arc welding (+65%), and material handling (+60%).

Burnstein expects to see continued growth in the material handling sector, the largest application area for robots, as robots expand into more industries.

Robot orders in Canada jumped 67% in units in 2010's first nine months. Canada accounts for about 9% of the North American market.

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