North American orders for robots to non-automotive companies surged to record highs through the first nine months of 2018, the Robotic Industries Association (RIA) said Thursday.
Robotics orders for non-automotive applications rose to 48 percent of the North American market through September, with automotive-sector orders falling from more than 60 percent of the market to 52 percent through September. This is the closest the two segments have been since RIA began reporting the statistics in 1984, the trade group said.
Despite growth in non-automotive orders, total robot orders for the first nine months of 2018 fell compared to a year ago. Companies ordered 22,708 robots valued at $1.31 billion in the first nine months of the year, down 17 percent in units and 11 percent in revenue, RIA reported. Orders to non-automotive companies were up 24 percent while orders to automotive companies were down 36 percent, the group said.
RIA said technological advances in robotics are make them more appealing to a wider variety of industries than in years past. Among the non-automotive industries that set new records for orders in the first nine months of the year were life sciences, food and consumer goods, plastics and rubber, and electronics.