ANN ARBOR – Robot orders in the first quarter of 2021 were up 20 percent over the same period in 2020, according to the Association for Advancing Automation (A3) in Ann Arbor.

Increases in robot purchases came from companies in metals (up 86 percent), life sciences/pharmaceutical/biomed (up 72 percent), food and consumer goods (up 32 percent), and other non-automotive industries (12 percent).

North American companies purchased 9,098 units valued at $466 million in Q1, with non-automotive companies purchasing 28 percent more robots over Q1 2020 and automotive OEMs and component suppliers combined seeing a 12 percent increase year-over-year.

The Q1 for robot orders was the second-best start to any year on record (2017) and the second-best quarter on record for non-automotive orders, behind Q4 of 2020, according to A3. Q4 2020 also was the second-best quarter ever for North America robot sales with a 64 percent increase over Q4 2019. In 2020 overall, for the first time, yearly orders of robots from non-automotive sectors surpassed automotive robot orders, as sales of robotic units in North America increased 4 percent in 2020 from 2019.

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