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.
Are they robots or androids? We're not exactly sure. Each talking, gesturing Geminoid looks exactly like a real individual, starting with their creator, professor Hiroshi Ishiguro of Osaka University in Japan.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.