North American Robotics Market Surges 32 Percent ANN ARBOR, MI — North American robotics companies posted the strongest ever ﬁrst-quarter results, according to the Robotic Industries Association, the industry's trade group. Both robot orders and shipments achieved record levels. An all-time high total of 9,773 robots valued at approximately $516 million were ordered from North American robotics companies during the ﬁrst quarter of 2017. This represents growth of 32 percent in units over the same period in 2016, which held the previous record. Order revenue grew 28 percent over the ﬁrst quarter of last year. Robot shipments also reached new heights, with 8,824 robots valued at $494 million shipped to North American customers in the opening quarter of the year. This represents growth of 24 percent in units and ﬁve percent in dollars over the same period in 2016. “The automation industry continues to grow robustly as companies invest to increase productivity and boost competitiveness while also providing opportunities for workers,” said Jeff Burnstein, president of RIA. “We are excited to hear about the new jobs being created and how companies such as Amazon, GM, and others are training and retraining their workforce to enable them to embrace these higher skilled jobs.” Growth in automotive related industries soared in the ﬁrst quarter of 2017. Robots ordered by automotive component suppliers were up 53 percent while orders by automotive OEMs increased 32 percent. Another good sign for the future of robotics was the continued growth in non-automotive industries like metals (54 percent), semiconductors/electronics (22 percent), and food and consumer goods (15 percent). The biggest increases were in arc welding (102 percent), coating and dispensing (64 percent), and spot welding (36 percent) applications. RIA estimates that 250,000 robots are now in use in the United States, the third highest in the world behind Japan and China. RIA and its parent group, the Association for Advancing Automation (A3), see the impact of the growth in demand for robotics and related automation at industry events such as Automate 2017, recently held in Chicago. This year’s show featured more than 400 exhibitors displaying their latest technologies and services, including global suppliers of robotics, motion control, motors, vision systems, metrology, software and system integration services for enterprises large and small. Over 20,000 people attended Automate 2017, including over 1,000 participants in the 120+ Automate conference sessions held at the event. “All of our statistics increased signiﬁcantly from the last Automate show in 2015,” added Burnstein. “Total number of show attendees jumped 37 percent and conference participation grew by over 90 percent compared to 2015. This growth demonstrates that there is an increasing need for an event like Automate that provides practical, real-world solutions for companies currently automating or considering automation.” RIA and its sister group, AIA – Advancing Vision + Imaging, are teaming up to bring more content on leading-edge robot and machine vision trends in 2017. The Collaborative Robots & Advanced Vision Conference will take place November 15-16 in San Jose, CA, and will feature presentations from market leaders in robotics, vision, and imaging. BUSINESS NEWS Matrix Design started construction on its new facility in Bartlett, IL. With the completion date of November 2017, Matrix is looking forward to moving from its two locations into the 50,000-square-foot facility designed for its speciﬁc needs. The leaders at Matrix kicked off the groundbreaking ceremony with traditional golden shovels in hand. “We are excited to bring all our employees together under one roof. The additional 15,000 square feet will support our steady growth ensuring we have the resources needed for our growing customer base,” said Patrick Bertsche, president of Matrix Design. The company expects the construction to be completed by Nov. 28, 2017, and anticipates a move in date by the end of December 2017. Edmund Optics (EO), a provider of optical components, announced an equity investment in ITOS GmbH in Mainz. Further details of the agreement remain conﬁdential. ITOS-Gesellschaft für Technische Optik mbH, has manufactured optical components, including ﬁlters, polarizers and display components since 1993 and will now operate as a subsidiary of Edmund Optics. With a current workforce of about 20 employees and more than 700 customers, ITOS represents a successful and strategic addition to Edmund Optics’ manufacturing portfolio. The ITOS product offering will be expanded and added to the Edmund Optics catalog, exposing them to a much wider market globally. At the same time, the investment strengthens Edmund Optics’ presence in Europe and sets a starting point for offering manufacturing capabilities within the region underlining Edmund Optics’ commitment to European customers.
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