Companies making industrial robots fielded orders for about 29,000 machines worth $1.48 billion this year through September, besting 2017’s record of $1.47 billion set over the same period and speeding past the $1.09 billion worth of robots sold in the first nine months of last year, according to the Association for Advancing Automation (A3).
“With labor shortages throughout manufacturing, logistics, and virtually every industry, companies of all sizes are increasingly turning to robotics and automation to stay productive and competitive,” A3 President Jeff Burnstein said in a statement announcing the sales record.
Growth in orders outside the vehicle industry outpaced that within the car business, A3 noted.
Companies ordered 9,928 robots in the third quarter, of which 6,302 were for non-automotive industries, A3 said. Most were for the metals industry, which ordered almost three times as many robots as in the same period the year before.
TREND FORECAST: Robots replacing humans is a trend we have long noted. Most recently, see “No Workers? No Problem. We Got ‘Bots” (5 Oct 2021).
The rise of robots further shrinks available jobs for low-skilled workers and sharpens two trends, as we noted in the article cited in the previous paragraph.
One is the embryonic movement to create apprenticeship programs to prep workers with no or outdated skills to qualify for jobs in tech, such as robot repair.
The other is the growing pressure to provide a guaranteed income, especially for people unable to adapt to skilled work. However, this would likely require a massive redistribution of wealth, taking profits from companies making money by replacing workers with bots and giving the money to their displaced ex-employees.
Although growing in popularity, especially among young people, the idea of a guaranteed income still faces years of political opposition.