Sales of industrial robots in the United States are increasing as a result of the recovery of the U.S. economy and auto sales. Importing robots accounts for over 50% of industrial robotics sales in the United States. The industrial automation sector in the U.S. is dominated by Germany, Japan, and Switzerland
The tendency of the robotics industry in America is to reorient production towards lower-cost industrial robots and to look at new applications and industries where margins for increase in robot sales are greater, such as in the food preparations and logistics industries
The Robotics and Industrial Automation Market in the United States Robotics/industrial automation in America is a highly competitive industry dominated by German and Japanese manufacturers of industrial robots.
Some interesting market developments could open doors to robotics manufacturers to export to the U.S.
According to ISO TR/8373-2.3, an industrial robot is a manipulator with several degrees of freedom, autonomously governed, reprogrammable, and multipurpose, which can be fixed in place or mobile for use in industrial applications.
The industrial robot merges two pre-existing technologies: numerically controlled machines (machines with programmable logic) and remote mechanical manipulators (mechanisms for operating remotely on various types of objects).
The main features of an industrial robot are: versatility, adaptability to unknown situations, positioning accuracy, and repeatability of execution
The global market of robotics and industrial automation
In 2013, the industrial robot market grew by 12%, reaching a sales total of 178132 units. The automotive industry is the largest buyer of industrial robots with 69400 new robots purchased in 2013 (+4%), followed by the electronics industry with 36200 units (+11%).
Then we find the metal industry, rubber and plastics, and beverage and food production in general.
The market for industrial robotics: robot sales in the United States
Sales of industrial robots in the U.S., as indeed everywhere in the world, are linked to the levels of industrial activity. GDP growth in the United States fluctuated between 2012 and 2014 from 2.8% to 1.6%, finally stabilizing at 2.4%; this a sign of recovery in the US economy which, as we shall see, is reflected in a growth in U.S. robot sales.
Growth of the automobile market in the United States: the automotive sector, even in America, is the largest customer of industrial robots.
After the steep decline due to the economic crisis of 2009, which reduced sales in the U.S. auto market by 40%, the robot is in full recovery; in particular between 2011 and 2012 sales growth was 33.1%, whereas between 2012 and 2013 it was 8.3%
The recovery of the U.S. automotive market was reflected in the demand for industrial robots: in 2013, U.S. demand was 13.22% of global demand for industrial robots.
Although the absolute demand grew compared to 2012, the share of the world market fell from 14.06% of 2012 because of China's massive purchases.
According to RIA data, in 2014, sales of industrial robots in the United States reached 27685 units, valued at $1.6 billion. Among the leading industrial Nations, the United States has most increased sales and imports of industrial robots.
The phenomenon underlying robotic purchases in America is due to the aforementioned economic recovery that is now firmly out of the recession, but also to the so-called "re-shoring" or returning to the U.S. manufacturing that had been moved to China or other low cost countries.
Industrial automation applications in the United States
In the U.S., according to RIA data, the weight of Automotive Components and Automotive OEM demand for industrial robots has gradually reduced over time; in 2014, the share decreased by 56% compared to 2005.
In contrast, other industries in America have increased their purchases of robots, these include the food preparation industry, the metalworking industry, and pharmaceutical and biochemical industries. The so-called "robot density" of the automotive industry in the United States is still 10 times higher than that of other U.S. industries (1091 vs. 76).
The main industrial robot activity types in the U.S. manufacturing process: in 2013 the most widespread application for industrial robots was handling and moving materials (49%), followed by different types of welding, spot (21%) and arc (14%), respectively. Assembly and machining activities are in fourth place.
It is interesting to note the increasing use of robots in the U.S. for logistics and warehousing operations.
The United States offer of industrial robots is composed of imports and direct production in the U.S. In the United States, most demand for industrial robots is met by foreign manufacturers that produce directly in the United States with their own plants or using imports.
Foreign production of robots in the US: the majority of the industrial robot production facilities in the United States are held by European and Japanese companies that have invested in the United States to ensure geographical proximity to customers in the automotive field.
Japan: Fanuc, Kawasaki, Yaskawa-Motoman.
Switzerland: ABB, Staübli.Abb, Punchers.
Industrial robot importation in the U.S.: most industrial robots produced in the U.S. are sold in the U.S.
Robot imports in the United States reached $750.6 million in 2013, more than 50% of the total value of U.S. Robotics market. Robots imported by the United States arrive mostly from Europe and Japan. The total value of robots exports, on the other hand, reached $494.1 million in 2013.
While about 50% of U.S. robotics exports from America to the rest of the world consist of parts, import data shows only 26%
Market trends in the United States of America: industrial robotics applications for new sectors and industries and design of low cost industrial robots
According to analysts at Technavio, a company specializing in research and technology consulting, the U.S. industrial robot market will grow at a rate of 12.26% over the four-year period of 2015-2019 A new trend in the robotics industry is the growing interest in industrial robots for small and medium-sized enterprises.
These are low cost industrial robots and low cost robotics solutions compared to major manufacturers’ classic robot production.
One example of this is the Baxter robot developed by Rethink Robots, which, at a price of $22000, costs about half of a normal robot manufactured by ABB, for example.
The winning strategy for manufacturing companies who want to sell industrial robots in the United States is to develop robots to serve various U.S. industries of new application to robotics such as the industries of food preparations, pharmaceutical and metal working.
A second strategy is to dedicate resources to develop low-cost robots to serve small and medium-sized U.S. companies now opening up to applications of industrial robotics.