Ann Arbor, MI -With manufacturers looking to improve productivity, increase flexibility, speed time-to-market, and boost quality, industrial robot orders grew 60% in 1999. According to new statistics from the Robotic Industries Association, the industry's trade group, net new orders for the year totaled 17,591 robots valued at $1.4 billion-fueled by huge gains in orders for spot welding, material handling, assembly, and arc welding robots.
"Spot welding robot orders skyrocketed 102%, assembly robot orders jumped 100%, material handling was up 52%, and arc welding grew 46%," said Donald A. Vincent, Executive Vice President of RIA. "North America is the hottest robotics market in the world. The 60% jump in orders is triple the worldwide growth rate in 1999," says Vincent. Robot shipments in 1999 also broke all previous records. A total of 15,063 robots valued at $1.2 billion were shipped, an increase of 39% in units and 17% in revenue over 1998.