North American companies started the year by purchasing the most robots ever in a single quarter, with 11,595 robots sold at a value of $646 million. According to the Association for Advancing Automation, these Q1 numbers represent growth of 28% and 43% respectively over the first quarter of 2021 and 7% and 25% 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,” said Alex Shikany, A3’s vice president of membership and business intelligence. “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.”
Automotive Orders Still Strong, but Non-automotive Companies Drive Increase in Orders Overall
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% while orders from automotive component companies were up 22%. Unit sales to non-automotive industries saw the following increases in Q1 over the same period of 2021:
- Metals: up 40%
- Plastics and Rubber: up 29%
- Semiconductors and Electronics/Photonics: up 23%
- Food and Consumer Goods: up 21%
- Life Sciences/Pharma/Biomed: up 14%
- All Other Industries: up 56%
“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,” said Jeff Burnstein, president of A3. “There are hundreds of thousands of companies in North America who have yet to install even one robot.”
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