North American robotics shipments grow 11% in 2013, orders down 5%

Despite a slight contraction in overall new orders, the non-automotive industries segment grew 22% -- including 13% growth in materials handling.
By Modern Materials Handling Staff
February 13, 2014 - MMH Editorial

Following a strong year in 2012, the North American robotics market recorded its best year ever in 2013 in terms of robot shipments, according to new statistics from Robotic Industries Association (RIA), the industry’s trade group.

A total of 22,591 robots valued at $1.39 billion were shipped to companies in North America in 2013, beating the previous record of 20,328 robots valued at $1.29 billion shipped in 2012. These new records for robotic shipments represent growth of 11% in units and seven percent in dollars. When sales by North American robot suppliers to companies outside North America are included, the totals are 25,772 robots valued at $1.57 billion.

While robot shipments set record highs in 2013, new orders fell. A total of 21,562 robots valued at $1.34 billion were ordered from North American companies in 2013, representing a decrease of five percent in units and ten percent in dollars from 2012. While the 2013 totals for robot orders represent a contraction from 2012, they remain the second highest annual figures ever recorded for North America.

“We are pleased to see another strong year for the robotics market in North America,” said Jeff Burnstein, president of RIA.  “It’s exciting to see companies of all sizes continue to find value in automating with robotics.”

The top industries in terms of units ordered in 2013 were life sciences (+73%) and food and consumer goods (+67%).  “While the highly cyclical purchases by automotive companies contracted in 2013 for robotics, we saw strong growth in non-automotive industries,” said Alex Shikany, director of market analysis for RIA. “The total number of robots ordered for use in non-automotive industries grew 22% over 2012,” he added.

In terms of applications for robot orders, increases were seen in assembly (+61%), material handling (+13%), and coating & dispensing (+5%).

The robotics market in North America ended 2013 on a strong note. New robot orders in the fourth quarter of 2013 totaled 5,831, the third highest quarterly total ever recorded (RIA began recording data in 1984).

RIA estimates that some 228,000 robots are now at use in United States factories, placing the US second only to Japan in robot use.



Subscribe to Logistics Management magazine

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Get timely insider information that you can use to better manage your
entire logistics operation.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Recent Entries

When it comes to Congress actually getting its act together on a new long-term federal transportation bill, things remain as status quo as it gets, with the big takeaway being nothing really ever gets done, when it comes to passing a badly overdue and needed bill, rather than these band-aid extensions Congress keeps signing off on.

Truckload and intermodal pricing was up on an annual basis, according to the December edition of the Truckload and Intermodal Cost Indexes from Cass Information Systems and Avondale Partners.

While the official numbers won’t be issued until early February in its quarterly Market Trends & Statistics report, preliminary data for the fourth quarter and full-year 2014 intermodal output from the Intermodal Association of North America (IANA) indicates that annual growth was intact.

Almost all companies today are aware of their labor or material costs... but what about energy consumption? It all comes down to having the energy data needed to determine what actions you must take to improve. The payoff is worth it, as insight into energy data allows you to make more valuable, relevant operating decisions.

With lower energy prices sparking domestic economic gains, coupled with solid manufacturing and industrial production activity, improving jobs numbers, and a GDP number that shows progress, there is, or there should be, much to be enthused about when it comes to the economy and the economic recovery, which has been raised and discussed and dissected from basically every angle possible, it seems. But that enthusiasm regarding the economy needs to be tempered, because big headline themes seldom tell the full story at all really.

About the Author

Josh Bond, Associate Editor
Josh Bond is an associate editor to Modern. Josh was formerly Modern’s lift truck columnist and contributing editor, has a degree in Journalism from Keene State College and has studied business management at Franklin Pierce. Contact Josh Bond

Comments

Post a comment
Commenting is not available in this channel entry.