North American robot shipments up 7% in 2018 to new record, led by non-automotive
The Robotic Industry Association (RIA), part of the Association for Advancing Automation, reported last week that robots shipped to North American companies in record numbers in 2018.
RIA's 2018 robot shipment statistics report said that 35,880 robot units were shipped to North America last year, up 7% from 2017. Of those, 16,702 shipments were to non-automotive companies—a 41% increase. Other notable growth came from areas of food and consumer goods (+48%), plastics and rubber (+37%), life sciences (+31%), and electronics (+22%).
Shipments to North American automotive OEM and tier supplier customers totaled 19,178 in 2018, which was 12% lower than in 2017. While automotive still accounted for 53% of total North America robot shipments last year, that figure is its lowest percentage since 2010.
“While the automotive industry has always led the way in implementing robotics here in North America, we are quite pleased to see other industries continuing to realize the benefits of automation,” Jeff Burnstein, President of the Association for Advancing Automation (A3) said. “And as we’ve heard from our members and at shows such as Automate, these sales and shipments aren’t just to large, multinational companies anymore. Small and medium-sized companies are using robots to solve real-world challenges, which is helping them be more competitive on a global scale.”