Robot Sales Up

Sales by North American robotics vendors topped $800 million during the first nine months this year.

North American robotics companies posted healthy gains in sales and new orders during the first nine month of 2004, according to figures released recently by the Robotic Industries Association (RIA), an Ann Arbor, Mich.-based trade association.

A total of 11,384 robots valued at $746 million were ordered through September by North American manufacturers, an increase of 13 percent in units and 7 percent in revenue compared to the same period last year, the RIA said. An additional 943 robots valued at $56.9 million were sold by North American robotics companies to manufacturers outside of North America. That’s up by 185 percent in units and 94 percent in revenue over the comparable 2003 period. The combined total domestic and foreign sales through September of 12,327 robots valued at $802 million represent gains of 19 percent in units and 10 percent in revenue compared to the first nine months of 2003, the RIA said.

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. The RIA estimates that some 142,000 robots are now being used in the United States.

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