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North American robot shipments top 20,000 in 2012

By: David Hutton

October 14, 2013

AKRON, OHIO — In the United States, the plastics industry is increasingly turning to automation to improve efficiency, according to a Plastics News data report titled “Plastics Manufacturing Automation and Robotics Review & Outlook 2013 — North America.”

In 2012, there were 20,328 robot shipments in North America, up from 17,887 in 2011.

A total of 5,833 robots valued at $341.2 million were ordered from North American robotics companies through March 2013, an increase of 14.5 percent in units over the same period in 2012 and 10 percent more than in the first quarter of 2005.

First quarter shipments to North American customers totaled 5,736 robots valued at $369.5 million, an increase over first quarter 2012 by 24.6 percent in units and 23.3 percent in dollars.

For manufacturers of automation and robotics solutions, emerging markets in the BRIC countries, South East Asia, Turkey and also in Middle Eastern countries will support increased demand, which is necessary for further investments in technology.

The report details automation opportunities for several plastics processes, including injection molding, extrusion, thermoforming and blow molding.

It also examines global robot density — the United States lags Germany, South Korea and Japan in the density of manufacturing robots utilized (measured as the number of robots per 10,000 human workers). South Korea sharply increased its robot-to-worker ratio in the last three years and Germany has twice the robot density as the United States.

In addition to these findings, the report includes discussions of market trends, opportunities and threats as well as the latest developments in automation innovation. It also details lights-out manufacturing, equipment trends and automation’s impact on employment and the outlook for automation adoption in North America.

To learn more about “Plastics Manufacturing Automation and Robotics Review & Outlook 2013 — North America,” visit www.plasticsnews.com/data, or contact Glenn Glasberg at 330-865-6161 or by email at gglasberg@crain.com.