US companies invest heavily in robots

30th April 2024
Harry Fowle

IFR preliminary reports have shown that US companies have invested heavily in robots in recent years.

Manufacturing companies in the United States have invested heavily in more automation: total installations of industrial robots rose by 12% and reached 44,303 units in 2023. Number one adopter is the car industry followed by the electrical and electronics sector. These are preliminary results, presented by the International Federation of Robotics (IFR).

“The United States has one of the most advanced manufacturing industries worldwide,” says Marina Bill, President of the International Federation of Robotics (IFR). “The first IFR outlook on preliminary results shows again strong robotics demand across all major segments of U.S. manufacturing in 2023.”

Sales in the automotive segment rose by 1% with a record number of 14,678 robots installed in 2023. This comes after installations in 2022 skyrocketed by 47% reaching 14,472 units. The market share of car and component makers hit 33% of all industrial robot installations in the U.S. in 2023. The United States has the second-largest production volume of cars and light vehicles worldwide, following China.

“Automotive manufacturers currently invest in robotics mainly to drive the electric vehicle transition and respond to labour shortages,” says Marina Bill.

Installations in the electrical and electronics industry rose by 37% to 5,120 units in 2023. This number almost reached the record pre-pandemic level of 5,284 units, seen in 2018. The latest result represents a market share of 12% of all industrial robots installed in the U.S. manufacturing industry.

Demand for industrial robots in this segment is influenced by a trend to strengthen domestic supply chains and projects that drive the clean-energy transition.

Other strong U.S. sectors

Installation counts in other industries exceeding the 3,000-unit mark in the U.S. are: metal and machinery (4,123 units, +6%) and plastic and chemical products (3,213 units, +5%). They represent a market share of 9% and 7% of industrial robot installations in 2023, respectively.

Canada and Mexico

Robot installation in Canada reached 4,616 units – up 43%. The automotive industry accounts for 55% of the country’s robot installations. Sales to the automotive sector rose by 99% with 2,549 units installed in 2023. This is an all-time high.

Robot installations in Mexico’s manufacturing industry remain almost unchanged with 5,868 units in 2023. The country’s main adopter is the automotive industry which accounted for 69% of the robot installations in 2023: sales reached 4,068 units (-0%) in 2023 – the third best result since the peak level of 4,805 units, in 2017.

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