Robotic Industries Boast Record-Level First Quarter Revenues

North American robotics customers ordered 8,161 new robots valued at $437 million in the first quarter, which is the second-best opening the industry has seen, according to the Robotic Industries Association.

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A total of 10,730 robots valued at $507 million were shipped to North American customers in the first quarter of 2018, according to the Robotic Industries Association (RIA). Both units shipped and shipment revenue are said to have achieved record levels. These numbers represent a growth of 22 percent in units and 3 percent in dollars over the same period in 2017. 

In addition, North American customers ordered 8,161 new robots valued at $437 million in the first quarter, which is the second-best opening the industry has seen. The first quarter of 2017 remains the highest first quarter ever for new robot orders.

Growth in non-automotive industries also increased in the first quarter of 2018. Industries that experienced the most growth, in terms of units shipped, were life sciences (262 percent), plastics/rubber (130 percent) and food/consumer goods (64 percent). Shipments to the automotive OEM sector declined 43 percent, while units shipped to the automotive component industry increased 42 percent.

Non-automotive robot orders increased as well, with life sciences (184 percent), plastics/rubber (100 percent) and metals (three percent) leading the way. A decrease in order volume during the first quarter resulted from a slowdown in automotive OEM sales, contracting 70 percent in units and 53 percent in revenue compared to the first quarter of 2017.

“In the past, when the automotive market retracted, the entire robotics industry would decrease along with it,” says Jeff Burnstein, president of RIA. “The fact that we’re seeing significant growth in non-automotive industries bodes well for the robotics industry as a whole.”