The Robotics Industries Association (RIA) this week announced that North American robot unit orders in the third quarter were up slightly when compared to Q3 2018. However, through the first three quarters of 2019, robot unit orders are up 5.2%, due mainly to a very good second quarter.
In Q3 2019, the RIA said North American companies ordered 7,446 robots, with a value of $438 million. This represents a 1% increase in both units ordered and in dollar value, the RIA said.
Automotive driving orders
For the first nine months, companies have ordered 23,894 robots, with a value of more than $1.3 billion. The RIA said the largest driver of year-to-date growth in units ordered was from automotive OEMs (47% increase over last year), followed by plastics and rubber (15%) and food and consumer goods (4% increase).
“We continue to see improvement in the robotics market,” said Jeff Burnstein, president of the Association for Advancing Automation (A3) and the RIA. “At this time last year, we saw a dip in orders of around 15%, so it’s encouraging to see a recovery through the third quarter. We hope to end the year strong and see growth in 2020 as well.”
Burnstein said that orders from non-automotive customers remain near record numbers, indicating a “healthy sign for the long-term growth of the robotics industry.”
The A3 promotes automation technologies, and is the umbrella group for the RIA, the AIA – Advancing Vision + Imaging, Motion Control & Motor Association (MCMA), and A3 Mexico. The different groups represent more than 1,250 automation manufacturers, component suppliers, system integrators, end users, research groups and consulting firms.
Globally, the International Federation of Robotics reported in September that 422,000 robots were shipped globally in 2018, an increase of 6% compared to 2017 shipments. In the service robots category, the IFR reported a 32% increase in sales value of $9.2 billion for 2018. In the report, the IFR expected 2019 to remain flat in terms of installations, but with increases expected in 2020, 2021, and 2022.