ANN ARBOR–The Robotic Industries Association announced that North American robot unit orders are up 5.2 percent through the third quarter, compared to 2018 orders.

So far this year, North American companies have ordered 23,894 robotic units, valued at $1.3 billion.

In the third quarter, North American companies ordered 7,446 robots, valued at $438 million. Both units ordered and revenue are up 1 percent compared to the third quarter of 2018.

The largest driver of the year-to-date growth in units ordered was an increase in orders from auto manufacturers at 47 percent, followed by plastics and rubber at 15 percent, and food and consumer goods at 4 percent.

“We continue to see improvement in the robotics market,” said Jeff Burnstein, president of A3 and RIA. “At this time last year we saw a dip in orders of around 15 percent, so it’s encouraging to see a recovery through the third quarter. We hope to end the year strong and see growth in 2020 as well.”

Burnstein said he sees strong interest in robotics from companies that have never invested in robots before, citing the fact that prospective users from a wide variety of industries were among the 300+ attendees at the recent Collaborative Robots, Advanced Vision and AI Conference the association sponsored in San Jose, Calif., Nov. 12 and 13. In addition, orders from non-automotive customers remain near record numbers, a healthy sign for the long-term growth of the robotics industry.

The Association for Advancing Automation is the umbrella group for Robotic Industries Association (RIA), AIA – Advancing Vision + Imaging, Motion Control & Motor Association (MCMA) and A3 Mexico. RIA, AIA, MCMA and A3 Mexico combined represent more than 1,250 automation manufacturers, component suppliers, system integrators, end users, research groups and consulting firms from throughout the world that drive automation forward. For more information, visit www.a3automate.org.