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34 What is the State of the Robot Industry?




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This article is from the Robotics FAQ, by Kevin Dowling nivek@cs.cmu.edu with numerous contributions by others.

34 What is the State of the Robot Industry?

In general, there was a significant slump in the mid to late 1980's in
industrial robotics. However in the early 1990's sales and number have
rebounded to surpass early 1980 numbers and dollars.

From Motion Control Magazine April 1994: Robotics Industries
Association said recently Robot orders jumped 40% through June, 1993
as the industry posted its best opening half-year ever.... Net new
orders received by U.S. based robotics companies totalled 3,640 robots
valued at $306.2 million, the highest unit and dollar figures ever.

From the New York Times, Wednesday September 7th pC1
(paraphrased) In the late 1980's a steep decline in robot orders drove
most US companies out of the business. In the first half of 1994 4,335
robots with a total value of $383.5 million. Fanuc is the leader with
about $360M in sales this year. Asea Brown Boveri (ABB) is second with
sales estimated at $120M. The next several are Japanese: Motoman,
Panasonic, Sony and Nachi.

The only major US producer to have survived is Adept Technology with
about $50M in sales in a $700M market. The following table is
interpreted from a graph in the article.

   Net new orders in US:
        Year    # of robots     $US
        1984    5800            $480M
        1985    6200            $380M
        1986    5400            $320M
        1987    3800            $300M
        1988    4000            $325M
        1989    4500            $510M
        1990    5000            $510M
        1991    4000            $410M
        1992    5250            $500M
        1993    6800            $630M
        1994    4335 (6 mos)    $383M (6 mos)

From Industry Flash Vol1, No. 4, Dec 5, 1994:

"DEMAND FOR U.S. INDUSTRIAL ROBOTS SURGING"
ANN ARBOR, Mich. - U.S.-based robotics companies are enjoying the best
of times. The Robotics Industries Association (RIA) says surging
demand recently led American robotic companies to their best
nine-month totals ever.

Through September, new orders totaled 6,218 robots valued at $548
million, a 12 percent increase in units and 13 percent increase in
revenue over the previous nine-month period last year. The greatest
demand, says the trade group, is coming from U.S. manufacturers which
are finally learning what the Japanese have known for years: robots
can play a significant role in improving productivity, quality,
flexibility and time-to-market. But, even though demand is surging and
the U.S. is the world's second largest robotics user with some 53,000
systems, the Japanese have more than seven times as many robots in
use, RIA says.

 

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