The North American robotics market set new records in both robots sold and value in 2022, according to the Association for Advancing Automation, or A3. The organization today said that North American companies ordered 44,196 robots valued at $2.38 billion last year, representing increases of 11% and 18%, respectively, over previous records in 2021.
More than 50% of sales came from the automotive industry, which ordered 23,807 robots, up from 16,752 in 2021, A3 said.
“Although labor-shortage and supply chain issues impact nearly all industries in North America, automakers’ public commitment to move to electric vehicles (EVs) has set in motion a resurgence of robot orders in this market,” stated Jeff Burnstein, president of A3.
“Automotive OEMs and components suppliers alike recognize that investing in robots is instrumental to the emergence of EVs as well as to manufacturing all vehicles as they compete to meet customer demand,” he added.
First nine months of 2022 compensate for Q4 drop
In the first nine months of 2022, North American companies purchased 35,804 robots, up 24% over the same period in 2021, said A3. While fourth-quarter orders slowed, with companies ordering only 8,392 robots, total numbers for the year from all industries resulted in the 11% record over 2021.
While orders from non-automotive industries slowed from the previous three years, applications continued to emerge in industries such as food services, construction, and agriculture, noted A3. They included robots cooking and serving food, installing drywall, and harvesting and picking, it said.
“While the numbers of robots sold to non-automotive companies isn’t as staggering as it’s been over the last couple of years, it’s clear that companies in every industry see automation as necessary for success,” Burnstein said.
Shifting consumer demand for e-commerce may have affected robot sales later last year. “You saw companies like Amazon put a pause on building new warehouses, which means they probably canceled or delayed purchases of new automation,” Burnstein told Reuters.
However, the ongoing “labor shortage doesn't seem to be letting up,” he said. With U.S. unemployment still at historic lows, many companies are looking to automation to augment their workforces.
“We look forward to seeing more unique and increasingly easy-to-use robots that all industries can benefit from at Automate 2023 in Detroit this May,” said Burnstein.
A3 prepares to host Automate
The Association for Advancing Automation claimed that it is “the leading global advocate for the benefits of automating.” The Ann Arbor, Mich.-based organization's members include more than 1,160 automation manufacturers, component suppliers, systems integrators, end users, academic institutions, research groups, and consulting firms.
A3 will host Automate 2023 from May 22 to 25 in Detroit. The event will show and discuss the latest trends in robotics as well as machine vision, artificial intelligence, motion control, and related technologies. Registration for the four-day show is free.
In addition to Automate, A3 hosts other industry events, including the International Robotics Safety Conference, the AI & Smart Automation Conference, Autonomous Mobile Robots & Logistics Week, The Vision Show, and A3 TechCon, and the A3 Business Forum.