Robot orders in the second quarter of 2021 were up 67 percent over the same period in 2020. The increase shows that demand for automation is returning to its pre-COVID-19 level among manufacturers and other North American companies.
According to the Association for Advancing Automation (A3), North American companies ordered 9,853 robots valued at $501 million in Q2 2021, up from 5,196 sold in Q2 2020, the peak of the pandemic. A3 added that the Q2 2021 increase is the third-highest quarter on record for robot units sold overall and that more than half of robot orders (5,530) came from non-automotive customers.
“With the big increases in automation sales, and favorable economic conditions in U.S. manufacturing sector throughout much of 2021, it’s clear users have accelerated their orders for robotics and other forms of advanced technologies,” said Jeff Burnstein, president of A3. “While companies have long realized that automation increases efficiencies, expands production, and empowers human employees to do more valuable tasks, the pandemic helped even more industries realize those benefits. By automating—either for the first time or expanding on how they use automation—companies will be better prepared to handle any upcoming issues that impact their business.”
According to A3, the substantial increases in robot orders in Q2 came from companies in:
- metals (up 99% over Q2 2020)
- automotive components (up 85%)
- semiconductor and electronics/photonics (up 62%)
- plastics and rubber (up 51%)
- food and consumer goods (up 51%)
- automotive OEM (up 49%)
- life sciences/pharmaceutical/biomed (up 21%)
MACHINE VISION, MOTION CONTROL, AND MOTOR MARKETS SEE RECORD GROWTH
In addition to the large increase in robotic orders, the machine-vision market and the motion-control-and-motor market saw record increases over Q2 2020.
According to A3 statistics,
- the North American machine-vision market expanded 26 percent to $764 million, a new record; and
- the motion-control-and-motors market had $1.065 billion in shipments, 13 percent greater than Q2 2020 sales, also a new record.
“The revitalization of automation we’re seeing across myriad industries is extremely encouraging,” Burnstein said. “Not only will the increase in automation use be a win for our member-companies, but it will also help the U.S. economy grow even more as customers increase productivity and fill the millions of manufacturing jobs that remain unfulfilled.”
The Association for Advancing Automation (Ann Arbor, MI) promotes the benefits of automation technologies and ideas.
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