Robotics Orders Hit Record High

The number of devices ordered, most by car makers, topped the previous record set in 1999.

George Leopold, Contributor

February 8, 2006

1 Min Read

WASHINGTON — The North American robotics industry reported record orders for 2005, jumping 23 percent over the previous year. But the industry's outlook is clouded by uncertainty in the automotive sector.

The Robotic Industries Association (Ann Arbor, Mich.) said 2005 orders by North American manufacturing companies totaled 18,228 robots that were valued at $1.16 billion. Along with the 23-percent increase in unit orders, the increase represented a 17-percent value increase over the previous year.

Robotics orders in 2005 topped the previous record set in 1999.

The industry group estimates that about 158,000 robots are installed in U.S. manufacturing operations, second only to Japan.

U.S. automakers and their suppliers account for the majority of North American robot orders, and recent record losses by General Motors and Ford tempered the robust 2005 results.

"While we expect long-term growth to continue, the near-term holds several uncertainties," the group said in a statement. Along with a fourth-quarter order slowdown, the group added, "We’re also concerned about the troubles faced by leading companies in the automotive industry."

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