North American companies took on robots in unprecedented numbers last year, according to a new report from the Robotic Industries Association.
The organization’s data shows that 35,880 robots were shipped across North America in 2018, a 7% increase from the year prior. Every industry saw a marked increase in robot use, with the exception of automotive companies.
Looking at the U.S. specifically, robot shipments increased 15% overall, up to 28,478 and marking a record number of robot shipments in the country. Food and consumer goods companies increased their robot acquisition by 60%. Shipments to semiconductor and electronics plants were up 50%, while shipments to metal producers were up 13%.
The only exception was the automotive industry. Robot shipments to car makers in the U.S. dropped 30% last year. Across North America shipments to car makers dropped 12%. The automotive industry accounted for just 53% of overall robot shipments in 2018, its lowest share since 2010.