Labor Shortages Drive Record Robot Orders

Post-pandemic labor shortages are still a problem. The Economist says 3 million U.S. workers still haven’t gone back to work. Concerns about catching COVID-19 or problems with childcare are keeping some people at home. 4.4 million American workers quit their jobs in September, too, not always with a new position to step into.

Some industries are suffering more than others, and the ones that are suffering the most are driving automation to record-breaking levels.

The Association for Advancing Automation (A3) reports that North American orders for robots are up by 37% this year compared with last year. That’s 29,000 robots, or $1.48 billion worth. This puts us on track to make 2021 the biggest year ever for robotics sales.

Outside of automotive industry

Car makers increased robot purchases by 20 percent year-over-year. The automotive industry is normally the top consumer for robots. But other industries increased their orders by 53 percent. These outsiders racked up two thirds of the sales.

Robots have been taking on jobs outside of manufacturing as well, from pulling weeds to frying chicken wings. Employers had been reporting plans to increase automation, but resisting the up-front costs of actually doing so.

The pandemic made no-contact tasks more appealing. The post-pandemic labor shortages combined with workers’ demands for higher wages makes human workers less appealing, or at least harder to get.

The upshot is a new willingness to take the plunge into automation, including the use of robots.

Add the overwhelming number of supply chain disruptions threatening businesses and consumers alike these days, and it should be ni surprise that automation is increasing.

Keep your drive and control systems at their peak

Rexroth makes some of the best motion control systems the planet, and if and increase in robots means anything, it means that motion control systems are more important than ever. When you need service or support for your drive and control systems, your first call should be to us.

We’re Rexroth specialists, and we can get your facility back up and running fast, with factory repair and reman. We also have the nation’s largest selection of emergency replacement units. Call (479) 422-0390 for immediate assistance.

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