While North American companies are concerned about inflationary pressures, they are increasing their investments in automation. In the first quarter of 2022, they purchased the most robots ever in a single quarter, according to the Association for Advancing Automation, or A3.
North American businesses bought 11,595 robots worth a total of $646 million, reported A3 today. The Ann Arbor, Mich.-based association noted that these Q1 sales represent growth of 28% and 43%, respectively, over the first quarter of 2021, and 7% and 25%, respectively, over the best previous quarter, Q4 of 2021. Every industry segment experienced double-digit growth over the same quarter of last year, said A3.
“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,” stated Alex Shikany, vice president of membership and business intelligence at A3.
“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 [also] save and create jobs as automation helps them grow their business,” he said.
A3 said it promotes technologies and ideas that transform the way business is done. The organization's members include nearly 1,100 automation manufacturers, component suppliers, systems integrators, end users, academic institutions, research groups and consulting firms from throughout the world that drive automation forward.
Non-automotive orders drive overall increase
While automotive orders were still strong, A3 noted that Q1 2022 marked the seventh out of the past nine quarters where non-automotive customers ordered more robots than automotive customers. Non-automotive customers ordered 6,122 units in the first quarter, compared with 5,476 ordered by automotive-related customers.
Unit sales to automotive original equipment manufacturers (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:
“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. Many of those companies will visit Automate in Detroit next month looking for the latest solutions that will help them become stronger global competitors.”
A3 to host more discussions at Automate 2022
Shikany will talk in detail about automation and the labor shortage at Automate 2022 at 1:00 p.m. EDT June 6 in Detroit. Registration for Automate, which A3 described as “North America’s leading automation trade show and conference,” is now open online.
The event, scheduled for June 6 to 9 In Detroit, hosts the industry’s leading manufacturers and systems integrators in robotics, machine vision, motion control, artificial intelligence, and smart automation.
A3 also hosts events including the Automate Preview Series (ongoing), the Autonomous Mobile Robot & Logistics Week (Oct. 10 to 13, 2022, in Boston), The Vision Show (Oct. 11 to 13, 2022, in Boston) and the A3 Business Forum (Jan. 16 to 18, 2023, in Orlando).
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