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New records set in 2015

RIA reports new records set in 2015 for North American Robotic market

After setting new marks for the first half of 2015, the successful year of industrial North American robotic sales closed the year setting a new yearly record for North America. North American companies set the record ordering 31,464 robots valued at $1.8 billion. An increase of 14% in units sold and 11% dollars over 2014 showed the history-making year was a success.

The record-setting year is sign of a growing trend started in 2014 according to the International Federation of Robotics.

In 2014, robot sales increased by 29% to 229,261 units, by far the highest level ever recorded for one year. Sales of industrial robots to all industries increased compared to 2013.

Manufacturing changes occur industry-wide

Growth of robot orders primarily stemmed from the automotive industry accounting for a 19% order increase year over year in 2015. The Semiconductors and Electronics industry led non-automotive orders with an order growth rate increase of 35% for 2015.

According to Alex Shikany, Director of Market Analysis for RIA, the fastest growing applications for robot orders in North America in 2015 were Coating and Dispensing (+49%), Material Handling (+24%), and Spot Welding (+22%). RIA estimates that some 260,000 robots are now at use in North American factories, which is third to Japan and China in robot use.

North American Robotic affordability is driving the growth

Aside from the lowering cost of new robot inventory as manufacturing becomes cheaper and more efficient, the used robot market serves as relatively affordable entry point for the smaller players. Innovation and introduction of newer technologies keep the industrial robotic market to expand with smarter, adaptable and much more efficient models. As those models run their lifecycles, they often end on the secondary market and fill the need of labor from the growing retirement of baby boomers.

The changing labor force

Forbes delved into this topic with a feature on the idea the next industrial revolution is upon us with the ever-expanding presence of robots within manufacturing facilities. The author cited statistics to back up his assertion that as the labor force, with a rather sizable of number of workers attributed to the baby boomer generation, continue their exodus companies lose long-held invaluable assets.

Overall, industrial robots today perform about 10% of all manufacturing tasks, on average. Ten years from now, the percentage probably will have increased to about 25% – not just here in the United States, but worldwide – with annual spending on industrial robots more than doubling from about $11 billion today to more than $24 billion in 2025.

Adding efficient, flexible and adaptable equipment like industrial robots will allow optimal production levels to flow throughout plants world-wide

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