The North American robotics industry is booming, reporting its best first half since 2007, according to new statistics released by the Robotic Industries Association (RIA), the industry trade group headquartered in Ann Arbor, MI. Robotics industry sales jumped 41% in the first half of 2011, with the number of robots sold to North American companies totaling 8879, with a value of $577.8 million. When orders for the industry from outside North America are added, the totals come to 10,476 robots valued at $667.9 million. "This was the best first half for our industry since 2007," said Jeff Burnstein, RIA president.
The second quarter of 2011 was "particularly strong" reported the RIA, with gains posted of 50% in units and 55% in dollars over the same period in 2010. Burnstein attributed the majority of growth to increased orders from the automotive OEMs and their suppliers, traditionally the largest customer for robotics. "With the revitalization of the auto industry in the U.S., robot orders to these customers rose 60% in the first half of the year," he said....