New orders: North American robot sales jump 39% in first half 2007

New orders to North American robotics companies increased 39% the first half of 2007, according to the Robotic Industries Association (RIA),


Ann Arbor, MI —New orders to North American robotics companies increased 39% the first half of this year, according to the

Robotic Industries Association (RIA)

, the industry’s trade group. North American manufacturers ordered 9,208 robots through June, 2007, at a value of $525.2 million, which represents a gain of 40% in units and 12% in revenue; growth differed by industry.

April to June was an exceptionally strong quarter, showing increases of 60% in units and 24% in revenue compared to the same time last year. The 2007 first half

According to Jeffrey A. Burnstein, executive vice president of RIA, “Automotive industry buying patterns for robots are quite cyclical and this year we’re seeing the upswing.” Meanwhile, non-automotive orders declined 5%, although gains were noted in robot sales to life sciences, pharmaceutical, biomedical and medical devices at 13%; food and consumer goods at 11%, and a grouping of “other” industries that includes beverage and tobacco, apparel, wood products, paper, printing, machinery, furniture, and miscellaneous manufacturing totaling 11%.

Burnstein adds, “We’re happy to see some of the non-automotive markets growing, but would like to see this extended to areas such as semiconductors and electronics, metal, and plastics and rubber, all of which showed declines through June.”

In terms of applications, spot welding orders showed the largest rise in the first half at 150%, followed by coating and dispensing at 38%, and material handing at 25%. “This is what you would expect to see when the automotive industry is ramping up its robot orders,” says Burnstein.

RIA reports more than 171,000 robots at work in the U.S. Worldwide, the number exceeds one million.

The National Robot Safety Conference XIX is scheduled for Oct. 1-4, 2007, at the Marriott Center East in Indianapolis, IN.

—Edited by Barb Axelson, contributing editor
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