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North American robotics companies set new records for first half of 2013


North American robotics companies have set new sales records through June of 2013, according to new statistics released from Robotic Industries Association (RIA), the industry’s trade group.

A total of 10,854 robots valued at $679.3 million were ordered from North American robotics companies in the first six months of 2013, an increase of 1.9 per cent in units over the same period in 2012 and 1.3 per cent above the previous first-half record set in 2005.

Shipments to North American customers through June totaled 11,308 robots valued at $715.1 million, breaking the previous first-half records set in 2012 by 11 per cent in units and 10.4 per cent in dollars. Overall, three out of the four orders and shipments categories tracked by RIA set new records.

The activity was especially strong in non-automotive industries such as Semiconductors, Life Sciences, and Food & Consumer Goods, all of which posted double digit growth through June. In the auto industry segment, traditionally highly cyclical, orders through June were up sharply to tier suppliers, down to OEMs, for an overall decline of five percent.

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“While the automotive industry is still the largest customer for robotics in North America, it is great to see such positive growth in other industries,” said Jeff Burnstein, president of RIA. “North American robotics companies continue to diversify the industries they serve, which is a positive sign for the long term health of our industry.”

RIA estimates that some 230,000 robots are now at use in United States factories, placing the US second only to Japan in robot use. “Many observers believe that only about  10 per cent of the U.S. companies that could benefit from robots have installed any so far,” Burnstein said. “A very large segment of small and medium sized companies who may have the most to gain are just now beginning to seriously investigate robotics.”