Robotics industry reports 30% drop in orders

Ann Arbor, Mich.-North American robotics companies experienced a 30% decline in new orders during the first nine months of 2001, according to statistics released Nov. 7 by the Robotic Industries Association (RIA).


Ann Arbor, Mich.- North American robotics companies experienced a 30% decline in new orders during the first nine months of 2001, according to statistics released Nov. 7 by the Robotic Industries Association (RIA).

Through this past September, these manufacturers secured orders for 7,636 robots valued at $556.9 million-a decrease of 30% in units and 37% in dollars below the same period a year earlier. Shipments through September 2001 totaled 8,825 robots valued at $688.1 million-a decrease of 19% in units and 10% in dollars below the first nine months of 2000.

'Like other capital equipment manufacturers, robotics companies continue to feel the impact of the decline in spending in the manufacturing sector,' says Donald Vincent, RIA's executive vp. 'Key customers for robotics in automotive, electronics, food and beverage, pharmaceutical and other industries are continuing to invest in robotics and related manufacturing a lower levels during current downturn in the global economy.'

Besides weak economic conditions, Mr. Vincent added that Sept. 11's terrorist attacks may also have hurt the robotics industry. 'It appeared that an upturn was in sight before Sept. 11, but the terrorism capped it off before it could gain strength. As a result, the third quarter showed a decline of 30% in new orders, which was no better than our average for the first nine months.'

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