Robotics, Vision and Motion Control Industries Set New Growth Records in 2017

New records are being set by the North American robotics, machine vision and motion control markets according to the annual report of the Association for Advancing Automation (A3) – an organization that advocates advantages of automation.

“What I find most telling about these results is not simply that the automation market continues to grow, but that it is growing in such a wide variety of industries,” according to Jeff Burnstein, President of A3. “New industries continue to embrace robotics, vision, and motion, reaping the benefits of automation.”

In 2017, the figures of all four statistical categories: order units, order revenue, shipment units, and shipment revenue, surpassed the previous highs.

Last year a record number of robots were sold in North America. 34,904 total units of robots were purchased by consumers worth $1.896 billion in total. Compared to the numbers, this showed a growth of 0.9% in number of units and 0.1% in dollar terms. There was a growth of 20.5% in non-automotive orders but automotive-related orders noted a drop of 7.3% in units compared to the year earlier.

There was very high demand for machine vision solutions in North America resulting in record sale of imaging components and systems. Financial transactions in North America grew 14.6% o 2017 compared to 2016 to reach a total of $2.633 billion. Both systems and component markets comprise the total machine vision financial transactions. While there was an increase of 12.3% in total component markets in 2017 to reach $359 million, a rise of 14.8% was noted in total systems markets increased to reach $2.262 billion.

For total machine vision financial transactions in North America, the fourth quarter turned out to be the second best ever for the segment despite a slight contraction with overall revenues reaching $694.8 million and noting a rise of 16.7% year-on-year.

For the first half of 2018, barring imaging boards (flat), there is bullish sentiments among industry experts. It is also expected that there would be flat growth in sales for smart camera and application specific machine vision systems (ASMV).

The biggest machine imaging and vision components and solutions available in North America would be showcased at t he 2018 The Vision Show set to be organized in April this year in Boston, MA.

There was also a growth of 8.1% in the shipments of motion control and motor products in 2017 to reach $3.559 billion from $3.245 billion in 2016. Accounting for about 38.1% of the total shipments made, the sales of motors noted the largest product category. And with 18.5% of shipments, the second largest component was the Actuators & mechanical systems segment. The fastest growing segment in 2017, with a 20.7% growth, the motion controllers segment reached a total revenue of $196.4 million. The other two fastest growing segments was AC Drives with growth rate of 12.7% and revenues of $388.0 million and the Actuators and Mechanical Systems segment with growth rate of 12.4% and revenues of $658.2 million.

(Adapted from

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