The Ann Arbor, MI-based Robotic Industries Association (RIA) has released its quarterly statistics, which show the North American robotics market has had "its best quarter in six years," with a 41% increase in the first half of 2011.
According to RIA, a total of 8879 robots valued at $577.8 million were ordered by North American companies in the first six months of the year. When orders from outside North America are added, the totals are 10,476 robots valued at $667.9 million. “This was the best first half for our industry since 2007,” says Jeff Burnstein, president of RIA.
The industry organizationr reports that the second quarter was particularly strong, posting gains of 50% in units and 55% in dollars over the same period in 2010.
Burnstein attributes the majority of growth to increased orders from automotive manufacturers and their suppliers, traditionally the largest customer for robotics. “With the revitalization of the auto industry in the US, robot orders to these customers rose 60% in the first half of the year,” he says.
Non-automotive orders increased 23% through June, led by gains in metalworking (up 70%). Burnstein says some non-automotive customers who were slow to purchase robots in the first quarter accelerated their buying in the second quarter of the year, noting that food and consumer goods customers placed orders for 60% more robots in 2Q11.
Burnstein cites a recent development from Washington, the creation of a $500 million Advanced Manufacturing Partnership that includes $70 million for a National Robotics Initiative. “This could have a very positive long-term effect in keeping the US a leader in robotics, both inside the factory and in a wide-range of non-industrial robotics sectors,” he concludes.
-- Posted by Vision Systems Design