Robots shipped to North American companies in record numbers last year, according to a study released by Robotic Industries Association (RIA), Ann Arbor, Mich., in part with the Association for Advancing Automation (A3), Ann Arbor, Mich.

The study shows 35,880 units were shipped in 2018, a 7% increase over 2017, with 48% of the shipments to food and consumer goods companies, 37% in plastics and rubber and 31% in life sciences.

“While the automotive industry has always led the way in implementing robotics here in North America, we are quite pleased to see other industries continuing to realize the benefits of automation,” Jeff Burnstein, president of RIA. “And, as we’ve heard from our members and at shows such as Automate, these sales and shipments aren’t just to large, multinational companies anymore. Small and medium-sized companies are using robots to solve real-world challenges, which is helping them be more competitive on a global scale.”