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Robot Orders Up 28 Percent

Industrial robot orders jump-ed by 28 percent during the first nine months of 2003, compared to the same period in 2002, reports the Robotic Industries Association (RIA,, an Ann Arbor, Mich.-based trade organization.

North American robotics suppliers received orders for 10,382 robots valued at $727.5 million through September 2003, the RIA says. That represents a 28 percent increase in units and a 15 percent increase in dollars over the first nine months of 2002, according to the Association. Robot unit shipments also increased by 28 percent to 9,565 during the 2003 nine month period, while the dollar value of shipments improved by 17 percent to $688 million, compared to the first three quarters of 2002.

“While it’s too early to declare that the robotics industry is on the road to new record sales, we’re very encouraged by the fact that nearly as many robots have been ordered through three quarters of 2003 as were ordered in the entire year of 2002,” says Donald A. Vincent, RIA executive vice president.

“It appears that manufacturing companies that have been postponing major purchases of capital equipment are starting to make new investments. However, it is clear that there is still a great deal of uncertainty about the strength of the U.S. economic recovery,” Vincent says. “Another downturn could put the brakes on the recovery in capital equipment spending, which could lengthen the time it takes for the robotics industry to surpass the record sales it posted in its peak years of 1999 and 2000.”

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