2016 Breaks Records For Robot Orders, Shipments

ANN ARBOR — The Robotic Industries Association, the Ann Arbor-based advocate for the robotics industry, announced an all-time record in 2016 for North American robot orders and shipments.

During the year, 34,606 robots valued at approximately $1.9 billion were ordered in North America, representing growth of 10 percent in units over 2015.

The automotive industry experienced another strong year, with orders growing 17 percent. Units shipped to North American customers also grew by 10 percent, with 30,875 robots valued at $1.8 billion shipped in 2016. Shipments into the automotive market grew 25 percent relative to 2015.

The fourth quarter of 2016 alone saw North American orders of 10,621 robots valued at $561 million, a growth rate of 18 percent in units ordered and 21 percent in revenue over the fourth quarter of 2015. Fourth quarter shipments grew 33 percent on a unit basis with shipments of 8,825 robots valued at $494 million.

“Automation played a vital role in spurring economic growth in North American manufacturing and services industries in 2016,” said Jeff Burnstein, president of the Association for Advancing Automation, of which RIA is a part. “We anticipate accelerated growth based on smarter, more connected and more collaborative robots in the coming years.”

Orders for robots spiked 61 percent in assembly applications and increased 24 percent in spot welding.

The food and consumer goods industry increased orders for robots by 32 percent in 2016. Robots in these industries can be used in a variety of functions, including improving food safety, performing repetitive primary packaging tasks such as bin picking, tray loading and bottle handling, and assisting with secondary packaging tasks such as case packing, bundling, bagging and palletizing.

Capping its most successful year in history, the robotics, vision and motion control industries are preparing to come together for Automate 2017, North America’s largest automation exhibition and conference, April 3-6 in Chicago. More than 300 exhibitors and a record 20,000 attendees are expected to gather, including corporate decision-makers as well as press and industry analysts.

Founded in 1974, RIA is a non-profit trade association dedicated to education, promotion, and advancement of robotics, related automation technologies, and companies delivering integrated solutions. RIA represents more than 430 robot manufacturers, system integrators, component suppliers, end users, consulting firms, research groups, and educational institutions. More at  www.robotics.org.

The Association for Advancing Automation, or A3, is the umbrella group for RIA, along with the AIA Advancing Vision and Imaging for machine vision, and the Motion Control & Motor Association (MCMA). More at www.A3automate.org.

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