Thanks Ann for such an interesting post the figures are really eye capturing I totally agree that the demand for robots have never been constant it varries from time to time or era to era in other words we can say it is cyclic.
It is indeed very interesting change of trends. Few days back i was reading this article about Toyota's future manufacturing plans, and they are looking to replace machines with humans. I was very intrigued by this idea, as mostly the trend is other way around. Anyhow, if you look at the statistics of annual shipments from 1994 - 2013, you will see that there was never an ever-increasing trend in the robots. There are always ups and downs in the sales of robots, and as the technology grows in the coming years, the demands will undoubtedly rise.
Liz, I agree that would make sense on the surface. But the demand is somewhat cyclic over periods longer than a year. It's dependent on manufacturing cycles and when things like car models change and tooling up/retooling for same also changes. In other words, demand, not available supply. We've all become used to the electronics demand/supply cycles, which are 1 year or less, but that's only one manufacturing sector--and the one that took the biggest hit.
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