Ann Arbor, Mich. — Robots continue to march ahead, as the Association for Advancing Automation reports the North American robotics market had its best opening half-year ever to start 2017.
Records were set in the areas of robots, machine vision, motion control and motor technology for the first half of 2017, according to the Ann Arbor-based association, known as A3.
Robots set records in all four statistical categories, of units ordered, order sales, shipment units and shipment sales. A3 said 19,331 robots, valued at about $1 billion, were sold in North America, the highest level to begin a year. The shipments represent a growth of 33 percent in units and 26 percent in dollars over the first half of 2016.
Automotive-related orders grew at a faster pace: up 39 percent in units and 37 percent in dollars. Non-automotive automation orders grew 21 percent in units and 10 percent in dollars.
The segment for motion control and motors totaled $1.62 billion for orders, an increase of 14 percent over the first six months of 2016, A3 reports. Shipments totaled $1.75 billion, up 10 percent. The fastest growing areas for shipments were motion controllers, sensors and feedback devices, actuators and mechanical system, and AC drives.
A total of $1.24 billion worth of vision systems was sold in the first half, up 11 percent from the same period of 2016. The trade group said experts expect software to trend higher, cameras, lighting and imaging boards to be flat, and optics to decline over the second half of 2017.
The Association for Advancing Automation is made up of three sister associations: the Robotics Industries Association, the Advancing Vision + Imaging Association and the Motion control & Motor Association. Total combined membership is 1,064 as of July 31, which is a record.