North American robot orders down 3.5% in Q1 2019

Monday June 17, 2019
Written by Robotics Industries Association
June 17, 2019 – Robot orders in North America declined slightly in the first quarter of 2019 compared to the same period last year, according to the latest statistics released by the Robotic Industries Association (RIA), an organization of the Association for Advancing Automation (A3).

North American companies ordered a total of 7,876 robots valued at $423 million during the three months, a decline of 3.5 per cent in units and 3.2 per cent in dollars compared to the first quarter of 2018.

The decline was driven by a decrease in orders from automotive component suppliers (-16 per cent), plastics and rubber (-16 per cent), electronics (-17 per cent), and metals (-17 per cent). Orders from automotive original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) were up 41 per cent, however, as were orders from the food and consumer goods industries (+32 per cent). Another bright spot was the solid increase in orders over the fourth quarter of 2018, with units up nearly 16 per cent and revenue up nearly nine per cent.

In the first quarter of 2019, 7,577 robots, valued at $452 million, were shipped, down 29 per cent in units and nearly 11 per cent in dollars from the same period last year.

"We are coming off a record year in 2018 so slight declines aren’t unexpected, and long-term signs remain very healthy," says Jeff Burnstein, RIA president, in a release. Burnstein cited the strong growth of the recent Automate 2019 show in Chicago in April, where attendance soared 25 per cent over the 2017 show.

"Many of the Automate show attendees are just beginning to explore how robotics and automation can help their companies become stronger global competitors," Burnstein says. "Their expected purchases over the next year or so should help the industry grow going forward."

RIA is a not-for-profit trade association dedicated to improving the regional, national and global competitiveness of the North American manufacturing and service sectors through promotion and enhancement of robotics and related automation. RIA represents over 550 robot manufacturers, system integrators, component suppliers, end users, consulting firms, research groups and educational institutions.

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