Pandemic Drives Interest in Automation, Robot Orders Tick Up

Updated: Jun 2

By Supply Chain Dive


This article was published in Supply Chain Dive May 18, 2021. We're sharing because it examines a topic very important to SPESA and the sewn products industry: automation. The article touches on the role Covid-19 played in driving sales of robotics.


Dive Brief:

  • Orders of industrial robots in North America surged 20% YoY in the first quarter to reach 9,098 units, according to the Association for Advancing Automation, known as A3. Orders did fall nearly 9% from the fourth quarter of 2020.

  • Automotive OEMs and component suppliers remained the largest buyers of industrial robots at 2,147 and 2,448 unit orders, respectively. But the metals and life sciences/pharmaceutical/biomedical industries saw the most YoY growth, up nearly 86% and almost 72%, respectively, though they remained relatively small market segments. Advancements in automation technology, along with labor shortages in manufacturing and robotics, are among the factors driving expanded use of robots, Jeff Burnstein, president of A3, said in a statement.

  • Advancements in automation technology, along with labor shortages in manufacturing and robotics, are among the factors driving expanded use of robots, Jeff Burnstein, president of A3, said in a statement.



Dive Insight:

Manufacturers, logistics companies and other industries have been looking to automation for years as a way to increase productivity, but the pandemic increased interest for robotics and process automation technologies.