This article is from the Robotics FAQ, by Kevin Dowling firstname.lastname@example.org with numerous contributions by others.
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)