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2016 breaks records for North American robot orders and shipments

According to the Robotic Industries Association, orders surged 61 per cent in assembly applications while food and consumer goods orders increased 32 per cent.


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January 31, 2017 by Canadian Plastics

The North American robotics market broke all-time records for orders and shipments in 2016, with 34,606 robots valued at approximately US$1.9 billion ordered in North America, representing growth of 10 per cent in units over 2015.

According to new figures from the Robotic Industries Association (RIA), the automotive industry experienced another strong year with orders growing 17 per cent. “Units shipped to North American customers also grew by 10 per cent, with 30,875 robots valued at $1.8 billion shipped in 2016,” RIA said. “Shipments into the automotive market grew 25 per cent relative to 2015.”

The fourth quarter of 2016 alone saw North American orders of 10,621 robots valued at US$561 million, RIA said, a growth rate of 18 per cent in units ordered and 21 per cent in revenue over the fourth quarter of 2015. “Q4 shipments grew 33 per cent on a unit basis with shipments of 8,825 robots valued at US$494 million,” the association said.

Orders for robots spiked 61 per cent in assembly applications and increased 24 percent in spot welding, RIA said. “The food and consumer goods industry increased orders for robots by 32 per cent in 2016,” it said. “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.”

Founded in 1974, the Ann Arbor, Mich.-based RIA is a not-for-profit trade association driving innovation, growth, and safety in manufacturing and service industries through education, promotion, and advancement of robotics, related automation technologies, and companies delivering integrated solutions. RIA represents over 430 robot manufacturers, system integrators, component suppliers, and end users.