By Karen White
Manufacturing businesses are continuing to invest in robotics technology at a record pace. According to the Robotics Industries Association (RIA), the North American robotics market set a new record in the first half of 2015 with 14,232 robots sold, an increase of seven percent in revenue over the same period in 2014, which held the previous record.
What is interesting to note is that when the record was broken in 2014, it was mainly due to increased demand by automotive OEMs. Demand from automotive OEMs was down by 18% in 2015. This means that other industrial segments picked up their demand by an even greater amount. The top industry segments in 2015 are semiconductors (30%), automotive components (23%), and life sciences (8%).
The largest growth in key robot applications came from coating/dispensing and material handling. According to RIA, the increase in material handling is especially encouraging for those in the robotics industry because material handling touches so many industrial segments.
The future looks bright for continued investment in robotics technology. What is needed now is a workforce that has the knowledge, skills, and abilities to troubleshoot, interface, and program these new robots. 360 Manufacturing Center of Excellence continues to invest in youth robotics competitions, robotics curriculum, and robotics equipment for college members. 360 college members are home to more than 15 robotics-based programs. We are working together to ensure that the talented workforce that is needed for the manufacturing industry will be there.