Robot market gets back on its feet.
Following a tough year in 2006, industrial robot sales in North America is on the upswing. Mid-year statistics from the Robotic Industries Association (RIA) show an increase in robot orders by 39 percent. In 2006, orders fell 38 percent during the same period.
What changed? The automotive industry is primarily responsible for this year's recovery in robot sales. According to the RIA, orders from automotive manufacturers and suppliers rose 76 percent during the first half of the year. The most popular applications line up with automotive manufacturing needs: spot welding orders increased 150 percent; coating and dispensing robot orders went up 38 percent; and material handling robotic orders shot up 25 percent.
While non-automotive orders declined by five percent, some industries experienced increases. There were more orders from the medical, food, and consumer goods industries.
North American manufacturing companies ordered 9,208 robots this year, spending an estimated $525.2 million. With 171,000 robots installed in its factories, the United States is second only to Japan in robot use. One million robots are in operation throughout the globe.