November 12, 2021

A3 Q3 RobotOrders400x275The Association for Advancing Automation (A3) has announced that strong robot sales in Q3 2021 has brought the total number of orders so far this year to nearly 29,000 units, valued at $1.48 billion. This represents the best numbers ever recorded for the North American robotics market.

The numbers show increases of 37% in units sold (up from 21,072 in 2020), and a 35% increase in value (up from $1.09 billion), A3 said. In addition, these numbers surpass the previous highest record in 2017, a 5.8% increase in units sold and 0.5% increase in value.

In Q3 alone, North American companies ordered 9,927 robots ($513 million value), a 32% and 35% increase respectively over Q3 2020, marking the third highest quarter ever in units ordered and the fifth highest in robot value.

“With labor shortages throughout manufacturing, logistics and virtually every industry, companies of all sizes are increasingly turning to robotics and automation to stay productive and competitive,” said Jeff Burnstein, president of A3. “As our latest statistics indicate, sales are on track to make 2021 the biggest year ever for robotics orders in North America. We see many current users expanding their applications of robotics and automation throughout their facilities, while first-time robotics users are emerging in a wide range of industries, such as automotive, agriculture, construction, electronics, food processing, life sciences, metalworking, warehousing, and more.”

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Over the first nine months of 2021, automotive-related orders increased 20% year over year to 12,544 units ordered, A3 said. Non-automotive orders outpaced this growth, expanding 53% to 16,355 units ordered, marking only the second time non-automotive orders have surpassed automotive-related orders in the first nine months of a year (2020).

In Q3 2021 specifically, nearly two-thirds of sales (6,302) came from non-automotive industries, which the A3 said further demonstrates the trend of robotics growing into areas outside of automotive OEM and tier suppliers. Unit sales from non-automotive industries in Q3 saw the following increases over the same quarter in 2020:

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  • Metals, up 183%
  • Food and consumer goods, up 40%
  • Semiconductors, electronics and photonics, up 26%
  • Plastics and rubber, up 10%
  • All other industries, up 97%

“3M is seeing an upswing in providing automated solutions and processes for our customers, but as a manufacturer ourselves, we are also increasingly investing in automation,” said Carl Doeksen, global robotics/automation director at 3M’s Abrasive Systems Division. “The pandemic put a spotlight on the benefits that automated processes bring – from the ability to ramp up and scale up production quickly and efficiently, to helping improve the lives of our employees, our customers, and their families.”

For more information and charts, visit the A3 website here.