ANN ARBOR, MI—Industrial robot sales saw record highs in 2018, especially when looking at orders from nonautomotive companies, according to the latest numbers from the Robotics Industries Association. Overall, 35,880 robots were shipped last year, a 7 percent increase over 2017. A total of 16,702 robots were shipped to nonautomotive companies, an increase of 41 percent over 2017 levels.
Shipments to the automotive industry slowed, with only 19,178 units shipped to North American automotive OEM and tier supplier customers in 2018. This was 12 percent lower than the 21,732 units shipped in 2017. Overall, the automotive industry accounted for only 53 percent of total robot shipments in North America in 2018, its lowest percentage share since 2010.
Historically, the automotive industry (OEMs and tier suppliers) has accounted for over 60 percent of the North American robotics market.