Automotive sector outpaced in robot orders for first time

Jan. 29, 2021
In an unprecedented event, the life sciences, consumer goods and plastics and rubber sectors each purchased more robots than the automotive sector did in 2020.

Sales of robotic units rose 3.5 percent in North America from 2019 to 2020, and for the first time on record, robot orders from non-automotive sectors took the lead away from the automotive sector, according to statistics from the Robotic Industries Association (RIA). North American companies ordered 31,044 robotic units in 2020, with a value of $1.57 billion.

In 2020, orders from the life sciences sector rose by 69 percent, consumer goods rose by 56 percent, and plastics and rubber were up 51 percent — compared to the automotive sector’s increase of 39 percent.

“The surge in robot orders that we’re seeing, despite the pandemic, demonstrates the growing interest in robotic and automation solutions,” said Jeff Burnstein, president of the Association for Advancing Automation (A3). “It’s promising to see the growth of robotics in new applications and reaching a wider group of users than ever before.”

Based in Ann Arbor, Mich., the RIA is part of A3.