Successful Automate Show Tells Full Story of Automation

January 31, 2013

Lat week wrapped out a successful 2013 Automate Show at McCormick Place, Chicago. Automation industry leaders gathered not only to show off their latest and most advanced tech, but also to talk about how automation is beneficial for companies of all sizes and how — for some of them — automation has saved their businesses.

Robot Makers Spread Global Gospel of Automation
by John Markoff

To buttress its claim that automation is not a job killer but instead a way for the United States to compete against increasingly advanced foreign competitors, the industry group reported findings on Tuesday that it said it would publish in February. The federation said the industry would directly and indirectly create from 1.9 million to 3.5 million jobs globally by 2020.

The federation held a news media event at which two chief executives of small American manufacturers described how they had been able to both increase employment and compete against foreign companies by relying heavily on automation and robots.

“Automation has allowed us to compete on a global basis. It has absolutely created jobs in southwest Michigan,” said Matt Tyler, chief executive of Vickers Engineering, an auto parts supplier. “Had it not been for automation, we would not have beat our Japanese competitor; we would not have beat our Chinese competitor; we would not have beat our Mexican competitor. It’s a fact.”

Also making the case was Drew Greenblatt, the widely quoted president and owner of Marlin Steel, a Baltimore manufacturer of steel products that has managed to expand and add jobs by deploying robots and other machines to increase worker productivity.

“In December, we won a job from a Chicago company that for over a decade has bought from China,” he said. “It’s a sheet-metal bracket; 160,000 sheet-metal brackets, year in, year out. They were made in China, now they’re made in Baltimore, using steel from a plant in Indiana and the robot was made in Connecticut.”

Read the full story at the New York Times. Did you attend the Automate Show? What were your favorite take-aways?


North American Robotics Industry Up 20% in 2012

November 5, 2012

North American based robotics companies are in the midst of another strong year, with new orders up 20%, according to new statistics released by Robotic Industries Association (RIA), the industry’s trade group.

A total of 16,363 robots valued at $1.1 billion were ordered in the first nine months by companies in North America, an increase of 20% in units and 29% in dollars over the same period in 2011.  Including numbers from outside North America, the totals are 18,844 robots valued at $1.25 billion.

The automotive OEM and component suppliers remain the robotics industry’s biggest customers, accounting for 64% of the new orders through the third quarter.  Sales to these two segments rose 45% through September.

Other industries with increased robot orders include metalworking (up 13%) and life sciences/pharmaceutical/biomedical (up four percent).

“The strong automotive-related orders in 2012 are especially impressive given that sales to automotive tier suppliers and OEMS jumped by even greater amounts in 2011 (77% to automotive component suppliers, 59% to automotive OEMS),” said Jeff Burnstein, RIA’s President.

“The strong growth in 2012 continues to reinforce the significant value that robots provide as a productivity tool for major US manufacturing companies.  While automotive remains the largest market, interest across a wide range of both manufacturing and non-manufacturing companies continues to build and will provide the foundation for long-term industry growth,” said John Dulchinos, President & CEO at Adept Technology, who Chairs the RIA Statistics Committee and serves on the RIA Board of Directors.

RIA estimates that some 225,000 robots are now at use in United States factories, placing the US second only to Japan in robot use.  “Many observers believe that only about 10% of the US companies that could benefit from robots have installed any so far,” Burnstein said, “and among those that have the most to gain from robots are small and medium sized companies.”

To help reach small and medium sized companies, RIA is one of the sponsors of Automate 2013, North America’s broadest automation solutions show and conference.  Slated for January 21-24 at Chicago’s McCormick Place, the event focuses on how robots, vision, motion control and related automation technologies can help solve challenges faced by companies of all sizes in every industry. The event is collocated with ProMat 2013, North America’s leading event for materials handling and logistics.

Drew Greenblatt, President of Marlin Steel, and Matt Tyler, President & CEO of Vickers Engineering will be among the business leaders discussing how automation helped make their small companies more successful global competitors.  They will participate in a special session following a free keynote address by Steve Forbes, Chairman and Editor in Chief, Forbes Media, at 9 am on Tuesday morning, January 22. More than 150 companies will exhibit at Automate, including more than 30 complete system suppliers. For full show and conference details, visit

Founded in 1974, RIA represents some 300 member companies, including leading robot manufacturers, system integrators, end users, research groups, and consulting firms. RIA’s quarterly statistics report is based on data supplied by member companies representing an estimated 90% of the North American market.

For more information on RIA and the robotics industry, visit Robotics Online at or call RIA Headquarters at 734/994-6088.

See the original press release here.

Robot Serves Frozen Yogurt

November 2, 2012

Summer may be winding down to a close, but it never gets too cold for frozen yogurt! RIA member Yaskawa Motoman took their friendly bot Cid to PackExpo this past week, where he served up custom frozen yogurt orders to attendees.

Yaskawa Motoman will also exhibit at the 2013 Automate Show, Jan. 21-24 in Chicago. With a show designed to help small and medium sized businesses with their automation questions, you’ll be able to find all your solutions here! Show floor admission is free — check out our floor plan for a complete list of exhibiting companies.

What have been some of your favorite or most useful exhibits from Automate Shows past?

Happy Holidays – Believers in Robots and Automation Rejoice!

December 22, 2010

From Brian Huse, Director, Marketing & PR, Robotic Industries Association

All of us here at Robotic Industries Association hope you enjoy a happy and prosperous holiday season! As 2010 comes to a close, we anticipate a much-improved year in 2011. Optimism is fueled by increases in robot orders (up 34% through three quarters), gains in RIA membership (up 10% for the year), and RIA has many new benefits to help your business thrive.

Special regards to new members – 70 companies joined RIA this year, the most new members in several seasons. Hope we see you at the Forum and at Automate 2011!

RIA Shares Holiday Treats

If you are interested in opportunities in warehousing, fuel cells, wind turbines or food processing we have market studies to help you determine business drivers. These are free to RIA members!

Whatever your business, a good way to prepare for the New Year is to pre-register now for a free show badge to Automate 2011, March 21-24, McCormick Place in Chicago, Illinois, USA.

This all-new show goes beyond robots, vision and motion control technology by emphasizing solutions. In fact, systems integrators are at the front of the show. Have you booked your space, yet?

Remember, ProMat is collocated with Automate, giving the event a powerhouse combination of solution providers for material handling, warehousing,  logistics, robots, motion and vision technology.

If you want to build your career through specialized training, you can become a Certified Vision Professional from Automated Imaging Association and bone up on the fundamentals of flexible automation.

Count on networking with the best at this RIA event where you can consider membership in leading trade associations. It can be overwhelming to go through all the advantages of RIA membership so if there is just one way to make the most of it, we suggest you attend the members-only Robotics Industry Forum. We convene January 19-21, 2011, in Orlando Florida, and even if the weather is perfect the sessions and high-level networking make our meeting rooms the best place to be for two-and-a-half days at Disney. (Disney is always enchanting so of course we have some extracurricular treats planned, too.)

2011 has great significance. We mark 50 years of robotics since the first industrial robot was installed (a Unimate at General Motors). Milestones of the industry – past, present and future – will be highlighted at Automate 2011. For instance, a new robot safety standard is slated to go for vote and approval next year. It heralds a new age where worker-robot collaboration is safer and more convenient.

We can talk about all that and more at the Forum. Don’t wait to reserve a room at Disney’s Boardwalk Resort – they are going fast! (Call the hotel at 407/934-3372 and request the Robotic Industries Association room block for the special rate of $189 per night plus tax. Use Group Code #G0564170.)

RIA remains committed to helping its members find a brighter future. We aim to broaden our role as the primary resource for robotics information, to work more closely with system integrators, end users and schools with robotics programs (thank you RIA Educator Sponsors!), and to making all of our events and activities more valuable for members.

RIA and its sister trade groups, the Automated Imaging Association and Motion Control Association, represent more than 550 leading automation companies. More than 300 of the top executives from all our Associations will be at the Forum.

As we look forward to 2011 and the new Automate Show, we know every member has great prospects ahead as automation becomes vital to the success of more and more companies around the globe. We look forward to helping our members as they take advantage of these opportunities.

With warm holiday regards,

Brian Huse, Director, Marketing & PR, RIA