Design Engineering

NA robotics market posts record setting first quarter

An all-time high total of 9,773 robots valued at $516 million were ordered from North American robotics companies during Q1 of 2017.

June 12, 2017   Staff

The robotics market is booming. According to the Robotic Industries Association (RIA), North American robotics companies posted the strongest ever first-quarter results, both on orders and shipments levels.

Fanuc CR-7iA, CR-7iA/L collaborative robot

Photo courtesy of Fanuc.

An all-time high total of 9,773 robots valued at approximately $516 million were ordered from North American robotics companies during the first quarter of 2017 — a 28 percent growth over the first quarter of 2016.

Robot shipments also broke records with 8,824 robots valued at $494 million shipped to North American customers in the opening quarter of the year — a 24 percent jump in units and a five percent increase in dollars over the opening quarter of 2016.

“The automation industry continues to grow robustly as companies invest to increase productivity and boost competitiveness while also providing opportunities for workers,” said Jeff Burnstein, President of RIA. “We are excited to hear about the new jobs being created and how companies such as Amazon, GM, and others are training and retraining their workforce to enable them to embrace these higher skilled jobs.”


Growth in automotive related industries soared in the first quarter of 2017. Robots ordered by automotive component suppliers were up 53 percent while orders by automotive OEMs increased 32 percent. Another good sign for the future of robotics was the continued growth in non-automotive industries like metals (54 percent), semiconductors/electronics (22 percent), and food & consumer goods (15 percent).

The biggest increases were in arc welding (102 percent), coating & dispensing (64 percent), and spot welding (36 percent) applications. RIA estimates that 250,000 robots are now in use in the United States, the third highest in the world behind Japan and China.


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