Need for robots bounces back

Demand for industrial robots rebounded in third-quarter 1998 (3Q98), according to recent data from the Robotic Industries Association (RIA). A total of 3,002 robots valued at $257.9 million were ordered in 3Q98, which reflected a 9% increase in units and an 8% increase in dollars over 3Q97.

03/01/1999


Ann Arbor, Mich. Demand for industrial robots rebounded in third-quarter 1998 (3Q98), according to recent data from the Robotic Industries Association (RIA). A total of 3,002 robots valued at $257.9 million were ordered in 3Q98, which reflected a 9% increase in units and an 8% increase in dollars over 3Q97.

This reverses a trend of falling orders in the robotics industry during 1Q98 and 2Q98. "With the uncertain global financial conditions in early 1998, robotics slumped along with many other industries," says Donald Vincent, RIA's executive vice president. "Now that there's less concern about a worldwide financial meltdown, we hope to see the robotics industry resume the strong growth that led to new order gains of 131% during 1992-97."

Despite this recent recovery, overall robot orders were still down 12% in units and 7% in dollars in the first nine months of 1998 compared to the same period in 1997. Robot shipments, which declined 18% in units in 3Q98, were down 14% in units and 6% in dollars for the first nine months of 1998. "This is in line with our projections that the rapid growth rate of the past five years appeared to be unsustainable in early 1998," says Mr. Vincent.





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