Let's hear it for good beginnings! Robot unit sales experienced a steady increase last year and this trend has continued throughout the first three months of 2011.
The RIA recently released the 2011 first quarter statistical report, proclaiming 2011 "their best opening quarter since 2007." The robot unit data was gathered from North American robotics companies.
How Many Robots Exactly:
From January through March, North American companies placed orders for 4,021 robots - resulting in an increase of 31% in units. These robot orders represent $263.5 million dollars - an increase of 27% over 2010 stats.
Who Is Ordering Robots in 2011:
Leading the pack with a robot unit growth of 64% this year are companies from the automotive industry. While non-automotive robot orders barely changed (going up just 3%), industries within that group showed promise: 61% increase for life science/biomedical/pharmaceutical, 73% increase for metals.
Popular Robot Applications in 2011:
The vast majority of robot orders and shipments fell into two application categories - handling operations/machine tending and welding/soldering. In addition, robot were also purchased for dispensing, assembling/disassembling, and processing.
Looking into the Future:
The RIA is a bit hesitant to provide predictions for the upcoming quarters. It is hard to gauge the impact that the Japanese tsumani and earthquake will have on the robotics industry. However, the steady investment in robotics by North American manufacturing companies bodes well. An estimated 203,000 robots are installed in the U.S. alone.
For more information, visit www.robotics.org.