Q4 Robot Sales Surge, as Non-Automotive Robot Orders Exceed Those for Automotive

January 28, 2021

Industry statistics released today by the Robotic Industries Association (RIA), part of the Association for Advancing Automation (A3), Ann Arbor, MI, reveal that for the first time ever, yearly orders of robots from non-automotive sectors surpassed those from the automotive sector.  The report shows that year-over-year (YOY) sales of robotic units in North America increased 3.5 percent in 2020 from 2019, driven by a strong Q4--the second-best quarter ever for North American robotic sales with a 63.6 percent increase over Q4 2019. Automotive-sector robot orders grew by 39 percent YOY.

North American companies ordered 31,044 robotic units in 2020, valued at $1.572 billion. In Q4, companies ordered 9972 units valued at $479 million.

“The surge in robot orders, despite the pandemic, demonstrates the growing interest in robotic and automation solutions,” says Jeff Burnstein, A3 president.

“In 2020, we saw two trends in particular that propelled growth in non-automotive orders for robotics technology,” adds John Bubnikovich, chief regional officer--North America, Kuka Robotics. “First, the automation-competence level in general industry has grown, and that matured into greater demand for the technology. Second, consumer behavior shifted significantly, and the expectations created by this shift were tough to satisfy without automation.”

“With the changes in people’s personal buying behavior caused by COVID,” says Dean Elkins, segment leader--handling, Yaskawa Motoman, “robots have been utilized in record numbers to allow for the fulfillment of orders in the e-commerce space while allowing for correct social-distancing practices.”

“The pandemic has created a sense of urgency for manufacturing companies to invest in automation like never before,” adds Mike Cicco, president and CEO of Fanuc America. “Traditionally, companies have implemented automation to reduce cost, increase output and improve quality.  However, the pandemic has added an additional factor driving manufacturers to re-examine their supply chain to increase flexibility, minimize disruptions and move it closer to their customers.”


See also: Association for Advancing Automation

Technologies: Pressroom Automation


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