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Robot Sales in North America Continue Record Surge Into 2022

Nonautomotive users are driving the trend

Published: Thursday, July 28, 2022 - 12:01

(Association for Advancing Automation [A3]: Ann Arbor, MI) -- North American companies started the year by purchasing the most robots ever in a single quarter, with 11,595 robots sold at a value of $646 million.

According to the Association for Advancing Automation, these Q1 numbers represent growth of 28 percent and 43 percent, respectively, over the first quarter of 2021, and 7 percent and 25 percent, respectively, over the previous best quarter, Q4 of 2021. Each industry segment experienced double-digit growth over the same quarter of 2021.

“Every industry, including agriculture, construction, retail, and hospitality, is now looking at how they can take advantage of robotics to make their companies more successful,” says Alex Shikany, A3’s vice president of membership and business intelligence. “These companies recognize what we at A3 have long believed—that robots can not only take over the dull, dirty, and dangerous jobs that are so hard to fill, but they can save and create jobs as automation helps them grow their business.”

Automotive orders still strong, but nonautomotive companies drive increase in orders overall

Q1 2022 marks the seventh of the last nine quarters in which nonautomotive customers have ordered more robots than automotive customers. Nonautomotive customers ordered 6,122 units in the first quarter, compared to 5,476 ordered by automotive-related customers. Unit sales to automotive OEMs were up 15 percent, while orders from automotive component companies were up 22 percent. Unit sales to nonautomotive industries saw the following increases in Q1 over the same period of 2021:
• Metals: up 40 percent 
• Plastics and rubber: up 29 percent
• Semiconductors and electronics/photonics: up 23 percent
• Food and consumer goods: up 21 percent
• Life sciences/pharma/biomed: up 14 percent
• All other industries: up 56 percent

“As robots continually become easier to use and more affordable, we expect to see adoption continue to rise in every industry, and at companies of all sizes,” says A3 president Jeff Burnstein. “There are hundreds of thousands of companies in North America that have yet to install even one robot.”

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For 40 years Quality Digest has been the go-to source for all things quality. Our newsletter, Quality Digest, shares expert commentary and relevant industry resources to assist our readers in their quest for continuous improvement. Our website includes every column and article from the newsletter since May 2009 as well as back issues of Quality Digest magazine to August 1995. We are committed to promoting a view wherein quality is not a niche, but an integral part of every phase of manufacturing and services.