The USA uses a record number of robots
The USA uses a record number of robots

North American companies added a record number of robots in the first nine months of this year as they struggled to speed up assembly lines and increase the number of human workers.

According to the Association for the Advancement of Automation, an industry organization, factories, and other industrial users have ordered 29,000 robots, up 37% from the same period last year and worth $1.48 billion.

This exceeded the peak seen in the same period in 2017 before the global pandemic hit economies.

The rush to add robots is part of an increase in investment as companies seek to meet rising demand, which in some cases has led to a shortage of raw materials.

At the same time, many companies have tried to attract workers and use robots as an alternative to adding human elements to the assembly line.

Companies can't find the people they need, says Jeff Bornstein, president of the Association for Advanced Automation. Hence, they compete for automation.

Robots are also penetrating more and more areas of the economy. Automakers have a long history of buying most industrial robots.

But in 2020, consolidated sales of other types of companies surpassed the auto industry for the first time. This trend continues this year.

Robots are reaching more and more corners of the economy

According to A3 data, orders for auto-related robots rose 20% to 12,544 units in the first nine months of this year.

Orders from non-automakers rose 53% to 16,355.

"The auto industry hasn't gone downhill," Bernstein said. But other industries, from metals to food manufacturers, are also growing faster.

Athena Manufacturing produces metal for two other plants in Austin, Texas and now has seven robots, four of which have been installed this year.

The company bought its first machine in 2016. The machines help him meet the growing demand. Including orders for spare parts used by semiconductor equipment manufacturers increased by 50%.

She adds, "Last year, we were also able to switch to 24/7 operation for the first time thanks to automated processing. The company has 250 employees. But it is trying to find workers to fill the unpopular night shift."

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