Canadian Plastics

Robot sales at highest levels of growth ever: report

December 30, 2017   Canadian Plastics

The North American automation market set new records through the first nine months of 2017, according to the Association for Advancing Automation (A3).

In a new report, Ann Arbor, Mich.-based A3 found records set in the areas of robotics, machine vision, motion control, and motor technology.

“For the first nine months of 2017, 27,294 orders of robots valued at approximately US$1.473 billion were sold in North America, which is the highest level ever recorded in any other year during the same time period,” A3 said. “These figures represent growth of 14% in units and 10% in dollars over the first nine months of 2016. Automotive-related orders are up 11% in units and 10% in dollars, while non-automotive orders are up 20% and 11%, respectively.”

In robotics, 25,936 robots valued at US$1.496 billion were shipped in North America during the first nine months. “These record high quantities represent growth of 18% in units and 13% in dollars over what sold in 2016,” A3 said. “Automotive-related shipments also grew 12% in units and 9% in dollars during that time, with non-automotive shipments increasing by 32% and 22% for units and dollars, respectively.”


The hottest industries were metals (54%), automotive components (42%), and food and consumer goods (21%), the report said.

In the motion control and motors product segment, total motion control shipments increased by 10% to US$2.6 billion, marking the industry’s best nine month mark since these figures began being tracked. “The largest product category is motors (38% of shipments), followed by actuators and mechanical systems (18% of shipments), and electronic drives (17% of shipments),” A3 said. “The majority of suppliers believe that order and shipment volumes will increase in the next six months, with most distributors feeling that orders and shipments will be flat in the same time period.”

In the machine vision product segment, the North American market continued its best start to a year ever in 2017, with growth of 14% overall to US$1.937 billion. “Some notable growth rates were smart cameras, lighting, software, and component cameras,” A3 said.

“The market for robotics and automation continues at a healthy growth rate,” said Jeff Burnstein, president of A3. “It’s evident that the investment companies are making in these automation technologies is having a positive impact on productivity and competitiveness, while saving and creating new jobs in North America.”

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