Automotive Robotics Sales Increase

March 7, 2008
Don’t call it a comeback.
Ok, well maybe a little comeback.
According to the latest numbers from the Robotic Industries Association, North American-based robotics companies saw orders to North American manufacturing companies rise 24% in 2007, reversing the declines of the previous year. The trade group is reporting a total of 15,856 robots, with an overall value of $1.07 billion were ordered by North American manufacturing companies.
“We’re obviously very pleased to see strong growth in 2007, especially following the 30% decline in 2006,” said Ake Lindqvist of ABB Robotics and chairman of the RIA statistics committee. “Most of the growth last year resulted from sales to automotive manufacturers and their suppliers. In this market segment, which accounted for 64% of all orders, robot sales in North America rose 43%,” Lindqvist noted.
Apparently automotive companies went on a binge in 2007, as orders for spot-welding robots increased 100%, coating and dispensing rose 38%, material handling jumped 14%, and arc welding jumped 10%.
But Lindqvist believes that future growth of the market depends on reaching outside the automotive space.
“The robotics industry’s future expansion depends upon reaching more nonautomotive customers, and we still have a long way to go. However, we are encouraged by a 16% gain in sales to life-sciences/pharmaceutical/biomedical customers and an 8% increase in sales to food and consumer-goods companies,” Lindqvist said.
The RIA estimates that some 178,000 robots are now at work in U.S. factories, which ranks the U.S. second, behind only Japan in robot usage.

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