It's turning out to be one of the best years ever for North American-based robotics companies, with orders up 41% through September, according to the latest quarterly report from the Robotic Industries Association.
“In the first nine months of the year the industry has received orders for more robots than in all of 2010, which was also a very good year,” said Jeff Burnstein, President of Robotic Industries Association (RIA), the industry trade group that reported the data.
In the first nine months of 2011, 13,616 robots, valued at $848.5 million, were ordered by companies in North America. When orders to companies outside North America are included, the total is 15,683 robots valued at $968 million.
Automotive OEM and component suppliers segments are traditionally the largest for the robotics industry and they accounted for 53% of the new orders in 2011. Sales to these segments were up 56% through September.
In non-auto segments orders were up 28% in the first nine months of 2011, with metalworking sales up 55%, general industry up 45%. And semiconductor/electronics/photonics segment up more than 9%
The biggest applications gains far in the first nine of 2011 are:
• Assembly: +97%
• coating and dispensing +71%
• arc welding +66%
• spot welding +47%
• material handling +28%
RIA estimates there are 210,000 robots now at use in plants in the United States, putting the U.S. second only to Japan in robot use
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