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North American robot orders ticked upwards in 2019, report says

Statistics from the Robotic Industries Association report a 1.6 per cent increase compared to 2018.


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February 13, 2020 by Canadian Plastics

Photo Credit: Robotic Industries Association

North American robot orders inched up in 2019 compared to 2018, a new report says, due in large part to a 50.5 per cent increase in orders from automotive OEMs.

The report, from the Robotic Industries Association (RIA), also notes that North American companies ordered 29,988 robotic units last year, with revenue closing the year at US$1.681 billion.

But while overall robot orders were up 1.6 per cent in 2019 over 2018, order revenue for 2019 was actually down 1.3 per cent compared to the year before.

The largest driver of the growth was a 50.5 per cent increase in orders from automotive OEMs and a 16.6 per cent increase from the plastics and rubber industry, the report said. “Orders to automotive component markets were down 6.6 per cent, and all other non-automotive industries, including food & consumer goods, life sciences, metals, and semiconductor/electronics, contracted by single digits in comparison to last year,” RIA said.

The fourth quarter of 2019 was the weakest quarter of the year; 6,094 robotic units were ordered, valued at US$374 million. “This represented a decrease of 10.4 per cent in orders and 4.2 per cent in revenue compared to the fourth quarter of 2018,” RIA said.

“While 2019 was a challenging year, and the outlook for growth in 2020 is murky, we’re still seeing growing interest in automation technologies and solutions that will lead to continued future growth,” said RIA president Jeff Burnstein.

The RIA is headquartered in Ann Arbor, Mich. The association is also part of A3, an umbrella group for RIA, AIA – Advancing Vision + Imaging, Motion Control & Motor Association (MCMA), and A3 Mexico.