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2014 US robot sales are 30% up on 2013 levels

29 July, 2014

A record number of 14,135 robots, worth $788m, were ordered from North American robotics suppliers in the first half of 2014 – an increase of 30% in units sold and 16% in revenue over the same period in 2013 – according to new figures issued by the industry’s trade group, the Robotic Industries Association (RIA).

Most of the growth came in the second quarter, with 8,197 robots, valued at $450m, being bought by North American customers. This shattered the previous record for a single quarter, exceeding the fourth quarter of 2012 by 31% in terms of units sold and 17% in terms of revenue.

During this quarter, the North American automotive industry ordered 97% more robots than during the same quarter in 2013.

In the first half of 2014, non-automotive industries such as semiconductors, life sciences, and food and consumer goods, ordered 22% more robots than during the first half of 2013.

Since 2010, the North American robotics market has grown by an average of 26% per year. At the same time, employment in the manufacturing sector has been rising.

“While we often hear that robots are job killers, just the opposite is true,” says RIA president, Jeff Burnstein. “Robots save and create jobs.

“In 2010, after one of the worst recessions in our nation’s history, unemployment in the US was nearing 10%,” he points out. “Since then, amidst record years for robot sales, unemployment has steadily fallen toward pre-recessionary levels. The unemployment rate reached 6.1% in June of this year – the lowest it has been since September of 2008.”

The RIA estimates that there are now around 230,000 robots in use in US factories, placing the US second to Japan in robot use.  

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