According to a recent report, U.S. companies installed more robots in 2018 than ever before across a number of industries. Robot usage by Food and consumer goods industries surged 60 percent over 2017.
Reuters reports that a new study from the Association for Advancing Automation, an industry group based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, has revealed that U.S. companies installed a record number of robots in 2018. Automation shipments reached around 28,478 in 2018, nearly a 16 percent increase over 2017; shipments went up across nearly every sector except automotive where car makers cut back after tooling up for the production of new truck models.
The food and consumer goods industries saw a surge of 60 percent in automation shipments while shipments to semiconductor and electronics plants were up by over 50 percent, and metal production plants saw an increase of 13 percent. Bob Doyle, the vice president of the Association for Advancing Automation, said that automation is beginning to creep into other markets outside of the auto manufacturing market, which was previously the primary market for automation.
Smaller businesses are even beginning to take advantage of robots, such as Metro Plastics Technologies Inc, a family-owned business in Noblesville, Indiana, which replaced three of its forklifts with an automated machine that transports finished parts from the production area to quality inspectors. Ken Hahn, the company’s president, stated: “We had three propane, 5,000-pound forklifts, we’ve eliminated those.”
Dan Hasley, the director of sales and marketing for Kawasaki Robotics (USA) Inc, stated that the food industry is now starting to take advantage of automation: “The food industry is really starting to take off” Hasley stated, adding: “food and beverage is one of the segments that really responds to tight labor markets.”