Even the robots are having trouble finding work

RIA reports robotics order dropped sharply in 2008 as capital projects are shelved


North American based robotics companies report that new orders sold to North American manufacturing companies fell by 21% in units and 16% in dollars in 2008 compared to 2007.

A total of 12,557 robots valued at $894.9 million were ordered by North American companies in 2008, down from 15,856 robots valued at $1.07 billion last year.

“2008 was extremely difficult for our members and 2009 likely will be a very rough year as manufacturing companies throughout the world deal with the global economic crisis,” said Jeffrey A. Burnstein, Executive Vice President, Robotic Industries Association (RIA), the industry’s trade group.

“Capital equipment expenditures are slowing dramatically in the automotive industry, traditionally the largest customer for robotics.

Despite the current difficulties in the automotive industry, there is reason for optimism, said Tammy Mulch of ABB Robotics, Chair of Rica’s Statistics Committee.

es will have to restructure and to speed up development of these types of new models. I am sure the automotive industry will introduce new cars with less consumption, reduced emission and innovative technology.  This will require new automation technology throughout the value chain.  Robotics will surely benefit from such investments,” she asserted.

Burnstein noted that there’s also reason for optimism based on the strong non-automotive results in 2008.

“Non-automotive orders rose nine percent in units and seven percent in dollars over 2007.explained.

dustry as we continue to make progress in reaching new customers.”


RIA estimates that more than 186,000 robots are now being used in the United States, placing the Unites States second only to Japan in overall robot use.

products and solutions. The show is held just once every two years and gives users and potential users a great way to find answers to their manufacturing challenges. The need for improved productivity and product quality, flexibility, speed %%MDASSML%% these challenges don’t disappear, if anything they become greater, when there’s a downturn. We’re hopeful that the show will be a catalyst to stimulate the market in the second half of the year,” Burnstein said.

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