ANN ARBOR, MI Robot orders and shipments in North America set new records in the first nine months of 2014, according to Robotic Industries Association, the industry’s trade group.

A total of 21,235 robots valued at $1.2 billion were ordered from North American companies in the first nine months of 2014, an increase of 35 percent in units and 22 percent in dollars over the same period in 2013.

Robot shipments to North American customers through September totaled 18,490 robots valued at $1.1 billion, breaking the previous record set in 2013 by 5 percent in units and 2 percent in dollars.

Sales activity continued to be especially strong in the automotive industry, with orders up 48 percent year-to-date over 2013. Non-automotive industries, such as electronics, food and consumer goods, and metals also posted double digit growth in the first nine months of the year.

“The robotics industry in North America is having its best year ever in 2014,” said Jeff Burnstein, president of RIA. “Along with record performance, we are seeing more interest in robotics and related technologies than ever before. Companies of all sizes continue to recognize that automation makes them stronger global competitors. It’s also interesting to note that as robot sales boom, U.S. unemployment continues to fall, and is currently at its lowest level since July of 2008, further evidence that robotics helps save and create jobs.”

“We’ve seen substantial growth in robot applications across the board,” said RIA Director of Market Analysis Alex Shikany, . “Spot Welding (76 percent), Arc Welding (39 percent), and Assembly (29 percent) applications have recorded the highest year over year growth through September.”

RIA estimates that some 230,000 robots are now at use in United States factories, placing the US second only to Japan in robot use.

The record year for robot sales is also having a positive impact on Automate 2015, the industry’s leading event, which takes place March 23-26, 2015 at McCormick Place in Chicago.

“With five months still to go, the exhibit floor at Automate 2015 is already over 40 percent larger than our 2013 event,” Burnstein said. “We also expect a record number of attendees at the show as companies all over the world will be coming to find new automation solutions.”

Burnstein said that Automate 2015 also features the International Symposium on Robotics, which was last held in the US in 2011. For complete details on Automate, which is held every two years, visit the Automate Show website at