As high inflation and labor challenges impact businesses, North American companies purchased the most robots ever during the first quarter of 2022, with 11,595 robots sold at a value of $646 million, according to the Association for Advancing Automation in Ann Arbor.
The Q1 numbers represent growth of 28 percent and 43 percent, respectively, over the first quarter of 2021, and up 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, vice president of membership and business intelligence for the association.
“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.”
Shikany will talk in detail about automation and labor shortages at the Automate 2022 Show and Conference at 1 p.m. on June 6 in Detroit. The show, held at Huntington Place in Detroit, runs from June 6-9.
Q1 2022 marks the seventh out of the last nine quarters where non-automotive customers have ordered more robots than automotive customers. Non-automotive 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 non-automotive 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 Jeff Burnstein, president of the association. “There are hundreds of thousands of companies in North America who have yet to install even one robot. Many of those companies will visit Automate in Detroit next month looking for the latest solutions that will help them become stronger global competitors.”
Registration for Automate 2022, North America’s leading automation trade show and conference, is open here. The event hosts the industry’s leading manufacturers and system integrators in robotics, machine vision, motion control, artificial intelligence, and smart automation.
The Association for Advancing Automation, or A3, has a membership that represents nearly 1,100 automation manufacturers, component suppliers, system integrators, end users, academic institutions, research groups, and consulting firms from throughout the world that drive automation forward.
A3 hosts a number of industry events, including Automate Preview Series (Ongoing), the Automate Show & Conference (June 6-9, in Detroit), The Autonomous Mobile Robot & Logistics Week (Oct. 10-13, in Boston), The Vision Show (Oct. 11-13, in Boston) and A3 Business Forum (Jan. 16-18, 2023, in Orlando).