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North American Companies Notch Another Record Year for Robot Orders

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A woman next to robotic arms for a battery tray assembly line at the opening of a Mercedes-Benz electric vehicle battery factory in Woodstock, AL.

North American companies struggling to hire workers in the tightest labor market in decades brought on more robots last year than ever before, with many earmarked for new electric vehicle and battery factories under construction.

Credit: Elijah Nouvelage/Reuters

The Association for Advanced Automation (A3) reports that slightly more than 44,100 robots were ordered by North American companies, mainly in the U.S., last year, up 11% from 2021. Those orders totaled $2.38 billion, up 18%.

The record demand can be attributed in part to the tightest labor market in decades.

A3's Jeff Burnstein said the "labor shortage doesn't seem to be letting up."

However, robot orders outside the auto industry slowed in the fourth quarter, with Burnstein citing a shift from pandemic-era consumer behavior as well as supply chain issues.

Said Burnstein, "You saw companies like Amazon put a pause on building new warehouses, which means they probably canceled or delayed purchases of new automation."

Automakers and their suppliers accounted for over 50% of 2022's robot orders. A majority of the machines ordered last year were for material handling.

From Reuters
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