The robot revolution keeps rolling.
North American robot orders and shipments set new records in the first nine months of 2016, according to the Robotic Industries Association in Ann Arbor, Mich.
A total of 23,985 robots, valued at $1.3 billion, were ordered from North American suppliers in the first nine months, a 7 percent increase in units, and 3 percent in dollars, over the first nine months of 2015, RIA reported on Nov. 2. That year-ago period was the previous record.
Shipments to customers in North America totaled 22,050 robots, valued at $1.3 billion through the first nine months — an increase of 3 percent for units and 11 percent in dollars that also broke the previous record set in the same period a year ago.
RIA said the record sales were driven mainly by the key automotive market, including automakers and component suppliers. Orders from these two sectors gained 14 percent through September. Robots ordered by the food and consumer goods sectors jumped 40 percent, year-over-year.
RIA estimates about 269,000 robots are now running at North American factories, placing the region third behind only Japan and China.
RIA, and its parent group, the Association for Advancing Automation, are gearing up for the Automate 2017 trade show in Chicago's McCormick Place, April 3-6.