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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Robot orders down 19 per cent in North America in first 9 month of 2008
Article Type: News From: Industrial Robot: An International Journal, Volume 36, Issue 3
North American-based robot companies saw new orders from North American manufacturing companies decline 19 per cent through September 2008 compared to the same period in 2007, according to new statistics released by Robotic Industries Association (RIA), the industry’s trade group.
A total of 10,279 robots valued at $743.4 million were ordered by North American manufacturing companies through September. When orders to companies outside North America are included, the totals are 11,503 robots valued at $811.9 million, a decline of 17 per cent in units and 10 per cent in dollars over the same period in 2007.
“Given the financial crisis in North America and the especially hard-hit automotive sector, we’re not surprised by the overall decline,” said Jeffrey A. Burnstein, RIA’s Executive Vice President. “Orders from North American auto manufacturers and suppliers, sectors which annually account for more than half of annual robot orders, fell 36% in units and 26% in dollars through September. We don’t expect to see automotive orders recover anytime soon,” Burnstein noted.
“We are encouraged, though, by the year to date increase in non-automotive orders,” noted Tammy Mulcahy of ABB Robotics, Chair of RIA’s Statistics Committee. “Orders received from non-automotive industries increased 15% in units and 10% in dollars in the first 9 month of the year. Strong growth was seen in orders to the semiconductor, electronics, and photonics industries – partly driven by solar – as well as plastics and rubber, life sciences, pharmaceutical, biomedical, and medical device industries. But, non-automotive markets declined in the third quarter, so we’ll be watching fourth quarter results very closely,” Mulcahy explained.
“Our members are quite concerned about 2009, but the financial crisis will surely ease at some point and robots will be near the top of the purchasing list for many manufacturing companies in a wide variety of industries,” Burnstein asserted.