Manufacturing AUTOMATION

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Robot orders down 23 per cent in first half of 2008


Ann Arbor, Mich. – North American robotics orders fell 23 per cent in the first half of 2008 compared with the same period in 2007, according to new statistics from Robotic Industries Association (RIA), the industry’s trade group.

A total of 7,100 robots valued at US$528.6 million were ordered in the January to June 2008 timeframe by North American manufacturing companies. When orders outside North America are added in, bookings total 7,951 units valued at $575.6 million, a decline of 20 per cent in units but an increase of two per cent in dollars.
"2008 is a very challenging year in North America for the robotics industry and other capital equipment industries," says ≈ke Lindqvist, group vice president of ABB Robotics, and Chairman of RIA’s Statistics Committee. "With the economy either in a recession or on the edge of one, manufacturing companies are being quite cautious when it comes to investing in automation. This is especially true in the automotive industry, the largest customer for robotics.”
RIA numbers show that orders from automotive manufacturers and their suppliers fell 43 per cent in the first half of the year. However, non-automotive orders increased by 23 per cent in units and 16 per cent in dollars. Traditionally, orders from automotive-related companies account for 60 to 70 per cent of new robot orders. In the first half of the year, due to the decline in automotive purchases and the increase in non-automotive orders, orders between auto and non-auto were nearly equivalent.