Robotic Revolution Grows Beyond Auto Manufacturing

According to Natasha Bach, writing for, robots are starting to take over more human jobs—outside of simple manufacturing. A Robotic Industries Association report finds that North American companies are buying and using robots in never-before-seen numbers.

The Association for Advancing Automation (A3) reports that robotics firms shipped 35,880 units in 2018, a 7 percent increase over 2017, with 16,702 shipments to non-automotive companies, up 41 percent. Notable growth came in areas like food and consumer goods (48 percent), plastics and rubber (37 percent), life sciences (31 percent), and electronics (22 percent).

“And as we’ve heard from our members and at shows such as Automate, these sales and shipments aren’t just to large, multinational companies anymore. Small and medium-sized companies are using robots to solve real-world challenges, which is helping them be more competitive on a global scale.”

Two of three retail workers surveyed say technology will eventually replace some of their job responsibilities, underscoring the rising concern about the impact of automation and cutting-edge technology on the workplace.

Organizations like the World Economic Forum have forecast that innovations like machine learning will significantly alter the labor market, potentially leading to major job losses while creating new kinds of work.

India’s demand for robots has grown faster than most counties. According to IFR, the International Federation of Robotics, India saw a 30% increase in sales of its own manufactured robots, mainly to the automotive industry.

“The automotive industry will remain the main driver of the increasing robot installations in India,” says Junji Tsuda, President of the International Federation of Robotics. “Numerous new projects are announced by the international and domestic car manufacturers aiming to expand production capacities. Moreover, OEMs increasingly require local supply of automotive parts.”

For companies seeking robotic solutions, the Automate 2019 April 8-11 in Chicago will provide a resource for research. Focusing on the theme of Win the Future, Automate 2019 will explore how automation such as robotics will secure a company’s success in a technologically fast-paced world that is rapidly shifting the dynamic of today’s manufacturing. More than 400 robotic vendors, integrators and other automation companies will demonstrate their solutions on the show floor.

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