The RIA reports North America?s industrial robot sales were higher in the second quarter of 2012 than any previous quarter in history. As anticipated, robot sales in the U.S. were driven by work in the industrial sector (automotive, metal and electronics) while non-automotive related orders continued to fall behind.
A total of 5,556 robots valued at $403.1 million were sold to North American companies, a jump of 14% in units and 28% in dollars over the same quarter in 2011. Orders in the first half of 2012 totaled 10,652 robots valued at $747 million, increases of 20% in units and 29% in dollars over the same period last year.
“The strong sales reflect increased demand for robotics in industries such as automotive, plastics & rubber, and metals. However, as the economy slows, it?s not clear that these numbers will remain as strong heading forward.? said Jeff Burnstein, President of RIA.
Orders for spot welding robots, used primarily in automotive solutions, jumped 68% in the first half of 2012. Other big jumps were seen in coating & dispensing (+42%), arc welding (+20%), and assembly (+19%). Material removal orders, a smaller application area, rose 364%.
Automotive related orders accounted for 65% of units and 64% of dollars in the first half of 2012. This represents sharp gains of 44% in units and 56% in dollars over the opening half of 2011.
?We were disappointed to see non-automotive related orders fall eight percent in units and one percent in dollars in the first half of the year, with even sharper declines in the second quarter alone,? Burnstein said.
RIA estimates that some 220,000 robots are now used in the United States, placing the US second only to Japan in robot use.
Still, in order for the U.S. to overtake China as the world leader in manufacturing, robot sales in North America will have to exhibit an accelerated growth rate. The IFA reported a growth rate of 127% in 2010 among the Asian markets, with China leading the way. By comparison, the U.S. experienced an 87% increase in robot sales over the same year.
It is worth noting that, on the other hand, professional and domestic service robots?from Da Vinci Systems to Roombas?are earning the most hype these days, with surprising sales projections for the future.
The IFA reported that, globally, the number of professional service robots sold in 2010 rose by 4% compared to 2009 to 13,741 units. Unit sales were broken down by category as follows:
Comparitively, 2.2 million service robots for personal and domestic use were sold in 2010, 35% more than in 2009.
According to the Markets and Markets study, ?Personal & Professional Service Robotics Market ? Global Forecast & Assessment by Applications & Geography (2012 ? 2017),? the global service robotics market in 2011 was worth $18.39 billion. This market is valued at $20.73 billion in 2012 and expected to reach $46.18 billion by 2017 at an estimated CAGR of 17.4% from 2012 to 2017.
Markets to Markets cited 8 key market players in the service robotics industry: Honda Motors (Japan), iRobot (U.S.), AB Electrolux (Sweden), Sony (Japan), Fujitsu (Japan), Toyota (Japan), GeckoSystems (U.S.), and Yujin Robot (South Korea).
The market will continue to be driven by factors like ageing population, value enhancement by robots, increasing grants and funds by governments, increasing venture capital investments in service robotics companies, enhancements in complementary technologies and integration of robotics with mobile technologies, other smart products and appliances. With a growing number of U.S. start-ups invested in the service robotics field and the impending commercial use of drones, it may be the market to watch for rapid domestic sales growth.Read More