It’s happening: Robot orders rise 41 percent in 2011


The next iPhone isn’t the only thing that may be made by robots. According to Robotic Industries Association (via Modern Material Handling), North American orders for robots have jumped 41 percent in the first six months of 2011. 8879 new robots valued at $577.8 million were ordered by North American companies so far this year. Add in orders placed from outside the U.S. and that number rises to 10,476 robots at $667.9 million. Robots are a hot ticket item.

The automotive industry accounted for the majority of growth. Now that cars and trucks are finally beginning to sell again, manufacturers have increased robotic orders by 60 percent to help build enough cars to meet demand. Non-automotive orders also rose by 23 percent through the end of June. Most of these orders were from the metalworking industries (70 percent).

“Food and Consumer goods customers placed orders for 60% more robots in the second quarter of 2011 than in the first, hopefully a sign of strong growth going forward in this sector,” said Jeff Burnstein, president of RIA. 

For those doing the math, there are now around 205,000 robots used in the U.S. alone and more than 1 million industrial robots are used worldwide. This is good news, as it’s crystal clear that we still outnumber our metallic creations, but it may only be a matter of time. As we continue to teach robots how to perform more complex tasks and solve problems on their own, the likelihood that they will rise up and destroy us continues to grow. But hey, we’ve still got some time. It’s not like they have a hive mind yet…