Robot orders and shipments in North America set new records in 2015, according to Robotic Industries Association (RIA), the industry’s trade group. A total of 31,464 robots valued at $1.8 billion were ordered from North American companies during 2015, an increase of 14% in units and 11% in dollars over 2014. Robot shipments also set new records, with 28,049 robots valued at $1.6 billion shipped to North American customers in 2015. Shipments grew 10% in units and 9% in dollars over the previous records set in 2014.
The automotive industry was the primary driver of growth in 2015, with robot orders increasing 19% year over year. Non-automotive robot orders grew 5% over 2014. The leading non-automotive industry in 2015 in terms of order growth was semiconductors and electronics at 35%.
According to Alex Shikany, director of market analysis for RIA, the fastest growing applications for robot orders in North America in 2015 were coating and dispensing (+49%), material handling (+24%), and spot welding (+22%). RIA estimates that some 260,000 robots are now at use in North American factories, which is third to Japan and China in robot use.