Growth of robotics in North America at record levels

Posted By : Joe Bush
Growth of robotics in North America at record levels

The Association for Advancing Automation (A3) has announced the results of its research on robotics and automation trends, sales and growth. A3 provides quarterly statistical reports to its members for benchmarking and business intelligence purposes. Many records were set in the areas of robotics, machine vision, motion control and motor technology for the first half of 2017.

A snapshot of some of A3’s research findings includes:

Robotics
The North American robotics market has had its best opening half ever to begin 2017, setting new records in all four statistical categories (order units, order revenue, shipment units and shipment revenue). In total, 19,331 robots valued at approximately $1.031bn were sold in North America during the first half of 2017, which is the highest level ever recorded to begin a year. These figures represent growth of 33% in units and 26% in dollars over 2016. Automotive related orders grew substantially in that time, increasing 39% in units and 37% in dollars, while non-automotive orders also grew 21% in units and 10% in dollars over the first half of 2016.

Motion control and motors
For the first half of 2017, orders for motion control and motor products amounted to $1.622bn, up 14% over the first six months of 2016. Shipments totalled $1.757bn, up ten over the first half of 2016, and the fastest growing categories in that timeframe, in terms of shipments, were motion controllers (21% to $97m), sensors and feedback devices (20% to $76m), actuators and mechanical systems (17% to $318m), and AC drives (17% to $199m).

Vision and imaging
In 2017, the machine vision market in North America also posted its best first half performance compared to any other year. A total of $1.241bn was sold in the first six months of the year, with an increase of 11% over the same period in 2016. Machine vision component markets were up 11% in total to $177m and systems increased ten percent to $1.058bn. Some notable growth rates were lighting (20% to $35m), smart cameras (16% to $183m) and optics (16% to $20m).

Experts expect software to trend up, cameras, lighting and imaging boards to be flat, and optics to trend down over the next six months. Additionally, expectations are for Application Specific Machine Vision (ASMV) systems to increase and smart cameras to remain flat in the next two quarters.

“Year over year, our membership has been on a steady growth trajectory, the result of more companies understanding and embracing, the direct impact automation can have on their bottom line,” said Jeff Burnstein, President of A3. “We look forward to the continued advancement of our industry and helping companies of all sizes access the connections, information, and training they need to succeed with automation.”

A3 On the Road
A3 will host several events in the fall of 2017 that support the organizations and industries noted in its research findings. They include:

  • The National Robot Safety Conference, taking place in Pittsburgh, PA, 10th-12th October
  • The MCMA Technical Conference, taking place in Minneapolis, MN, 16th-18th October.
  • The Collaborative Robots & Advanced Vision Conference, taking place in San Jose, CA, 15th-16th November.

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