Robots took on a record number of jobs in North American firms last year, the Robotic Industries Association (RIA) said Thursday.
According to the RIA's data, 35,880 robots were shipped in 2018 to the U.S., Canada and Mexico, up 7 percent from the previous year. Of those shipments, 16,702 were to non-automotive companies — a year-on-year increase of 41 percent.
The consumer goods sector purchased almost 50 percent more robots in 2018 than in 2017, while life sciences saw an increase of a third.
However, shipments to the automotive industry slowed by 12 percent. The industry accounted for 53 percent of total robot shipments to North American companies — its lowest share since 2010.
"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," said Jeff Burnstein, president of the Association for Advancing Automation — the RIA's parent company.