This month, we caught up with Alex Shikany, Vice President of Membership & Business Intelligence at the Association for Advancing Automation (A3), fresh off of another successful A3 Business Forum earlier this month. At the Forum, Alex discussed the record growth of robot orders in 2021. We asked him to share some highlights from his presentation, and what we can look forward to next from A3.
1. The A3 Organization recently released a report detailing record growth of orders for robots in 2021. Can you share some high level insights for our readers?
The major takeaway from the 2021 results is that this is the best time in history for the robotics industry. More companies of all sizes are adopting robotics to help them stay competitive and become more efficient. While the pandemic impacted many areas of our economy and manufacturing sector, in many industries it accelerated the adoption of robotics and automation.
2. What industry segments saw the most growth?
Non-automotive industries overall saw impressive growth in 2021, continuing a trend we’ve seen over the past few years. Metals (91%), Food and Consumer Goods (29%), Semiconductor and Electronics (21%), Plastics (4%) and Life Sciences (4%) all increased over 2020. For only the second time, orders from non-automotive industries exceeded orders from automotive related industries on an annual basis (2020 being the other instance). Customers from an increasingly broad spectrum of industries are realizing the value of robotics and automation.
3. What do you think is driving this record increase?
Robots are more capable today than ever before and can be deployed in a growing number of applications and industries. Related enabling technologies like mobility (AMRs), machine vision, AI, and motion control are converging to provide more sophisticated automation solutions to end users looking to deploy robotics. We are also seeing robots empower human employees by allowing them to focus on higher value work. By automating dull, dirty, and dangerous tasks that are unappealing and unfulfilling to human workers, robots are making companies more successful.
4. Was there anything else about the report that you found to be significant?
It is an exciting time for the robotics and automation industry due to the pace of innovation, convergence of technologies, and growing user base in new and established industries. This fast-paced, future-oriented industry is also poised to provide the next great wave of rewarding technology careers for students and jobseekers, and it’s exciting to be a part of it.
5. The year’s biggest automation event, Automate, is planned for June 6-9 in Detroit, MI. Can you share with our readers why they should attend?
Automate is North America’s largest automation trade show that brings together the world’s leading companies to showcase everything that is capable with automation technology. I highly recommend attending if you are considering adopting robotics or automation technology at any level in your organization. You will be able to see the technology at work first-hand, speak with global leaders face-to-face, and learn important strategies and techniques to help you deploy the best possible solution. With all the energy around robotics and automation today, Automate is going to be an incredible experience this year. We couldn’t be more excited for this event!
About the ARM Institute
The ARM (Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing) Institute is a Manufacturing Innovation Institute (MII) funded by the Office of the Secretary of Defense under Agreement Number W911NF-17-3-0004 and is part of the Manufacturing USA® network. The ARM Institute leverages a unique, robust, and diverse ecosystem of 330+ consortium members and partners across industry, academia, and government to make robotics, autonomy, and artificial intelligence more accessible to U.S. manufacturers large and small, train and empower the manufacturing workforce, strengthen our economy and global competitiveness, and elevate national security and resilience. Based in Pittsburgh, PA since 2017, the ARM Institute is leading the way to a future where people & robots work together to respond to our nation’s greatest challenges and to produce the world’s most desired products. For more information, visit www.arminstitute.org and follow the ARM Institute on LinkedIn and Twitter.