Robotic Industries Association (www.roboticsonline.com) has reported that robot sales in North America rose by 19 percent in 2003 from the prior year. A total of 12,367 robots valued at $876.5 million were ordered, the RIA says, and the value reaches $913 million when orders from outside North America are considered. According to the RIA, which now tracks orders by the end-user industries, the 2003 figures show that 68 percent of the North American robots went to automotive-related applications, while 32 percent went to non-automotive markets such as food and consumer goods, plastics and rubber, life sciences, and electronics. Meanwhile, material handling remained the largest application area for 2003 North American robot orders.
Industrial workplaces are governed by OSHA rules, but this isn’t to say that rules are always followed. While injuries happen on production floors for a variety of reasons, of the top 10 OSHA rules that are most often ignored in industrial settings, two directly involve machine design: lockout/tagout procedures (LO/TO) and machine guarding.
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