In the News
The North American industrial automation market is growing at a healthier-than-expected rate, according to a report released last week by the Association for Advancing Automation, or A3. While it’s easy to assume that automotive manufacturing is already a heavy user of robotics, the recent growth demonstrates that there’s still plenty of room for adoption across industries.
“Based on the worldwide forecast from the IFR [International Federation of Robotics], we expected 10% to 15% growth in the region,” said Alex Shikany, director of market analysis at A3 in Ann Arbor, Mich. “If we contextualize with their numbers, we’ve outperformed. It’s surprising that we’re up this much year over year, but it’s not completely divergent from the overall trend.”
Automotive drives adoption
“Automotive had a great first half [of 2017] in OEM and component supplier orders,” Shikany said. “But it was also the best first half in non-automotive industry. That’s great news, no matter how you slice it.”
“Look at growth rates in the first half — there are interesting tidbits in industries like metals, plastics, and rubber,” he told Robotics Business Review. “They were pretty sizable in auto components. Automotive hasn’t yet dried up, but other companies are still automating. There’s a lot of business to be had.”
Carmakers are using robotics to become more responsive to the market, so that industry is far from saturated.
“We’d expect automotive robot sales to drop because of slow changeover in vehicle models, but that’s not happening,” said Bob Doyle, director of communications at A3...