Robotics Market Up 13 Percent

North American robotics companies posted a 13 percent gain in new orders from the North American market through the first nine months of 2004, according to new figures released by the Robotic Industries Association (RIA), the industry’s trade group.

A total of 11,384 robots valued at $745.1 million were ordered through September by North American manufacturing companies, an increase of 13 percent in units and seven percent in revenue. An additional 943 robots valued at $56.9 million were sold by North American robotics companies to manufacturers outside of North America, a gain of 185 percent in units and 94 percent in revenue over the comparable period in 2003.

Combined sales to North America and outside North America through September total 12,327 robots valued at $802 million, gains of 19 percent in units and 10 percent in revenue over the first nine months of 2003.

‘‘The robotics industry is in the midst of a very strong year,’‘ said Donald A. Vincent, executive vice president of RIA. ‘‘We’re seeing significant increases in orders from automotive suppliers, food and consumer goods companies, semiconductor and electronics firms, metalworking companies, plastics and rubber manufacturers, and from areas such as life sciences, pharmaceuticals, and biomedical.”

Vincent believes the use of robotics will continue to grow as manufacturing companies around the world seek ways to boost productivity, improve quality, and lower costs. ‘‘Robotics has a proven track record of success in helping companies become stronger global competitors. As more companies learn about these successes, we’re seeing robot use grow in just about every industry,’‘ Vincent asserted.

Orders for material handling robots, the largest application area for robots, jumped 36 percent in North America through September. Double-digit gains also were posted in assembly, arc welding and material removal applications.

RIA estimates that some 142,000 robots are now being used in the United States. For more information, visit www.roboticsonline.com.

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