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The Spread of Covid-19 Led to Surge in Orders for Factory Robots

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A robot assembles a power tool in a factory in Virginia Beach, VA.

Orders for robots soared in North America at year-end as manufacturers attempted to grapple with the rising toll of Covid-19 and avoid putting employees at risk.

Credit: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg

Orders for factory robots in North America spiked at the end of 2020 as manufacturers sought to avoid danger for employees amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Association for Advancing Automation estimated companies ordered 9,972 robots in the fourth quarter, a 64% year-over-year gain that raised the annual total 3.5% to 31,044 units.

Mike Cicco at Japanese robot maker Fanuc said, "The pandemic has created a sense of urgency for manufacturing companies to invest in automation like never before."

Robot orders in food and consumer goods, life sciences, and plastics and rubber sectors climbed more than 50% last year, while innovations like enhanced vision, mobility, and end-of-arm tools for grabbing objects broadened automation applications.

From Bloomberg
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