CHICAGO—American manufacturers are investing in robots to improve productivity and boost quality. According to the International Federation of Robotics (IFR), total installations of industrial robots rose by 12 percent in 2023, reaching 44,303 units. The automotive industry continues to be the No. 1 adopter, followed by the electrical and electronics sector.

“The United States has one of the most advanced manufacturing industries worldwide,” says Marina Bill, president of IFR. “[Our first] outlook on preliminary results shows strong robotics demand across all major segments of U.S. manufacturing in 2023.”

Sales in the automotive segment rose by 1 percent, with a record number of 14,678 robots installed. This comes after installations in 2022 skyrocketed by 47 percent, reaching 14,472 units. Automotive OEMs and suppliers account for 33 percent of all industrial robot installations in the U.S.

“Automotive manufacturers currently invest in robotics mainly to drive the electric vehicle transition and respond to labor shortages,” explains Bill, group vice president for robotics and discrete automation at ABB Inc.

Installations in the electrical and electronics industry rose by 37 percent in 2023, to 5,120 units. This number almost reached the record pre-pandemic level of 5,284 units, seen in 2018. The latest result represents a market share of 12 percent of all industrial robots installed in the U.S. manufacturing industry.

Bill says demand for industrial robots in this segment is influenced by a trend to strengthen domestic supply chains and projects that drive the clean-energy transition.

Installation counts in other industries exceeding the 3,000 unit mark in the U.S. include metal and machinery (4,123 units, a 6 percent increase) and plastic and chemical products (3,213 units, a 5 percent increase). They represent a market share of 9 percent and 7 percent, respectively.

Robot installations in Canada reached 4,616 units in 2023, up 43 percent. The automotive industry accounts for 55 percent of the country´s robot installations. Sales to the automotive sector rose by 99 percent, with 2,549 units installed in 2023, which is an all-time high.