- North American companies ordered more than 14,500 robots valued at $817 million in the first half of this year, a new record in the number of units sought and a 2% increase from last year, the Association for Advancing Automation reported.
- Automotive equipment manufacturers and component suppliers, respectively increased their robot order numbers by 16% and 4%, leading the growth in value. Meanwhile, the food and consumer goods industry increased their orders by 41% compared to last year.
- The Robotics Industry Association estimates that 265,000 robots are operating in factories in North America. During the first half, 13,620 robots valued at $838 million were shipped to North American customers.
Robots are filling a number of roles in warehouses and manufacturing plants and a recent report by GEP recommends using robots for repetitive or administrative tasks in order to free human capital. Although some fear the proliferation of robots may lead to job losses, advocates claim automation can lead employees to gain important skills while decreasing efficiency costs.
Donnelly Custom Manufacturing, for example, is using two Baxter robots from Rethink Robotics for flexible automation on its Alexandria, MN, factory floor. The Baxters perform repetitive, time-consuming tasks that must be error-free, the robot maker said. The robots are integrated to perform tasks such as removing parts from a conveyor belt and stacking each part on customized stacking devices, as well as counting and packing finished products for shipment to customers.