Record Year So Far For Robots In Manufacturing

More robots were ordered by North American manufacturers in the first half of 2016 than ever before.

There were more robots ordered for manufacturing and business purposes in the first half of 2016 than at any point ever before, according to the Association for Advancing Automation (A3).

A3 says the rise in automated manufacturing “promises increased efficiencies in production and the ability to compete globally.”

In total, 14,583 robots, at a value of $817 million, were ordered by North American companies during the first half of 2016, according to A3, which is a record and a 2 percent growth over the totals from the same period last year (when those figures had also been a record high at the time).

The food and consumer goods industries made up the largest percentage increase in robot ordering in the first half of the year, up a whopping 41 percent, followed by automotive manufacturers at 16 percent and component suppliers at 4 percent. Combined, those three categories helped push the robot market into record sales for the first half of 2016, according to A3.

Total robot orders to all other industries actually decreased 14 percent.

Robots used for inspection were also the biggest percentage increase compared to the same period last year, at 69 percent, followed by assembly at 38 percent and spot welding at 21 percent.

The Robotic Industries Association estimates that there are about 265,000 robots in use in factories in North America, which ranks third behind Japan and China.

“The robotics industry is thriving today as more companies of all sizes are realizing the benefits of automation,” Jeff Burnstein, president of A3, said in a statement. “The increasing functionality, flexibility, affordability and safety of robots today contributes to how this dynamic market is reshaping the global manufacturing landscape.”