Breaking News
0
Ad-Free Version. Upgrade your Investing.com experience. Save up to 40% More details

In a first, most North American robots last year didn't go to automotive plants

EconomyJan 28, 2021 07:41AM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This article has already been saved in your Saved Items
 
© Reuters. Starship Technologies food delivery robot is seen at University of Wisconsin-Madison

By Timothy Aeppel

(Reuters) - For the first time last year, most of the robots ordered by companies in North America weren't destined for automotive factories.

The shift is part of a long-term trend of automation spreading into more corners of the economy which was accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Online retailers have scrambled to expand capacity as more people buy goods online, while food and other types of factories have seen automation as a tool to keep lines running and workers safely separated.

Shipments of robots rose to 31,044 in 2020, a 3.5% increase over the prior year, with 52% going to plants that make things such as consumer goods and pharmaceuticals, according to data compiled by industry group the Association for Advancing Automation.

The orders were valued at $1.57 billion in total.

Orders by life sciences, pharmaceutical and biomedical companies rose 69% last year, the group reported, while demand from food and consumer goods companies grew by 56%.

"There's definitely been an upturn in particular areas because of the pandemic," said Alex Shikany, the group's vice president of membership and business intelligence. "The value proposition of automation is always efficiency, but with a pandemic it's also a way to space workers out and to run factories 24 hours a day without disruptions."

The robot industry, like most manufacturers, was hit hard during the pandemic as global supply chains ground to a halt and businesses closed. But business snapped back later in the year. Robot shipments in the fourth quarter were the second highest in history, up nearly 64% from the year-ago period, the report said.

The auto industry, a mix of assembly plants and parts suppliers, has long dominated the market for robots, although the level of demand can fluctuate depending on how many automakers are retooling for new models. Automotive accounted for two-thirds of robot shipments in 2017.

But other sectors have since been catching up, reflecting the development of less expensive and more flexible robots that are useful in more industries as well as growing pressure to automate jobs in what was, until the pandemic, a tight labor market.

In a first, most North American robots last year didn't go to automotive plants
 

Related Articles

Add a Comment

Comment Guidelines

We encourage you to use comments to engage with other users, share your perspective and ask questions of authors and each other. However, in order to maintain the high level of discourse we’ve all come to value and expect, please keep the following criteria in mind:  

  •            Enrich the conversation, don’t trash it.

  •           Stay focused and on track. Only post material that’s relevant to the topic being discussed. 

  •           Be respectful. Even negative opinions can be framed positively and diplomatically. Avoid profanity, slander or personal attacks directed at an author or another user. Racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination will not be tolerated.

  • Use standard writing style. Include punctuation and upper and lower cases. Comments that are written in all caps and contain excessive use of symbols will be removed.
  • NOTE: Spam and/or promotional messages and comments containing links will be removed. Phone numbers, email addresses, links to personal or business websites, Skype/Telegram/WhatsApp etc. addresses (including links to groups) will also be removed; self-promotional material or business-related solicitations or PR (ie, contact me for signals/advice etc.), and/or any other comment that contains personal contact specifcs or advertising will be removed as well. In addition, any of the above-mentioned violations may result in suspension of your account.
  • Doxxing. We do not allow any sharing of private or personal contact or other information about any individual or organization. This will result in immediate suspension of the commentor and his or her account.
  • Don’t monopolize the conversation. We appreciate passion and conviction, but we also strongly believe in giving everyone a chance to air their point of view. Therefore, in addition to civil interaction, we expect commenters to offer their opinions succinctly and thoughtfully, but not so repeatedly that others are annoyed or offended. If we receive complaints about individuals who take over a thread or forum, we reserve the right to ban them from the site, without recourse.
  • Only English comments will be allowed.

Perpetrators of spam or abuse will be deleted from the site and prohibited from future registration at Investing.com’s discretion.

Write your thoughts here
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
Post also to:
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Thanks for your comment. Please note that all comments are pending until approved by our moderators. It may therefore take some time before it appears on our website.
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Add Chart to Comment
Confirm Block

Are you sure you want to block %USER_NAME%?

By doing so, you and %USER_NAME% will not be able to see any of each other's Investing.com's posts.

%USER_NAME% was successfully added to your Block List

Since you’ve just unblocked this person, you must wait 48 hours before renewing the block.

Report this comment

I feel that this comment is:

Comment flagged

Thank You!

Your report has been sent to our moderators for review
Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.
Continue with Google
or
Sign up with Email