North American-based robotics companies saw orders increase by 40% in the first half of 2010, according to figures released by Robotic Industries Association (RIA). A total of 6,316 robots valued at $411.4 million were ordered by North American companies through June, a rise of 40% in units and 48% in dollars over the same period in 2009, though lower than pre-recession levels. Among leading robot applications, arc welding showed a 52% gain in units, followed closely by material handling. Report authors note that material handling continues to be the largest application area for robots.

RIA forecasts that material handling robot sales will likely get a further boost when RIA collocates its Automate 2011 trade show (formerly International Robots, Vision & Motion Control Show), with ProMat, a leading trade show for the material handling and logistics industries sponsored by the Material Handling Industry of America. The events will take place March 21 to 24, 2011, at McCormick Place in Chicago. RIA estimates that nearly 200,000 robots now work in domestic factories, placing the U.S. second only to Japan in overall robot use. More than one million robots are now in use worldwide. For more information, visit robotics.org.