Design Engineering

Robot sales in North America have strongest year ever in 2021

By DE staff   

Automation Machine Building

A3 study reports $2 billion in robotics sales in 2021 – up 28% over 2020.

According to the Association for Advancing Automation (A3), the number of robots sold in North America set a record in 2021. Propelled by a surge in non-automotive sectors, the number of robots sold in 2021 rose 28% over 2020, the automation advocacy organization says, with 39,708 units sold at a value of $2 billion.

Record robot sales in the fourth quarter of the year—up 9% over Q4 2020—demonstrated the strong momentum already realized through the previous nine months as more industries look to automation to increase productivity and alleviate ongoing labor shortages.

“More industries recognized that robotics could help reverse productivity declines and fill repetitive jobs human workers don’t want,” said Jeff Burnstein, president of A3. “It is no longer a choice whether to deploy robots and automation; it’s now an absolute imperative. As we’ve long believed—and users continue to confirm—robots help companies compete, ultimately creating more jobs to handle their growth.”

A3 says non-automotive orders represented 58% of the North American total; unit sales to non-automotive industries saw the following increases in 2021 over 2020, the association says:

  • Metals: up 91% over 2020
  • Food and Consumer Goods: up 29%
  • Semiconductors and Electronics/Photonics: up 2%
  • Plastics and Rubber: up 4%
  • Life Sciences/Pharma/Biomed: up 4%
  • All Other Industries: up 65%

“Improvements in technology, new financing models and simpler applications continue to be positive trend lines leading into 2022, in particular helping small companies automate and join the global stage,” Burnstein added.

The Association for Advancing Automation (A3) is a global automation advocate organization made up of 1,100 members including automation manufacturers, component suppliers, system integrators, end users, academic institutions, research groups and consulting firms.


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