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ROBOTIC RESOURCES

First Quarter 2006 Robot Sales Impacted by Downturn in Automotive Market

Robotic Industries Association

Ann Arbor, Michigan – May 3, 2006 – New orders for North American robotics companies fell 30% in the first quarter of 2006, according to statistics released by Robotic Industries Association (RIA), the industry’s trade group headquartered here. 

A 39% decline in purchases by automotive OEMs and component suppliers was the major contributor to the downturn, according to RIA.  The automotive industry is the largest customer for robotics, accounting for more than 60% of all robot purchases in North America.

‘‘The automotive OEMs and their tier one supplier markets are cyclical in terms of their purchases of robots,’‘ Vincent said.  ‘‘We saw a big spike in automotive OEM and tier one purchases at the beginning of 2005, when we had a record start to the year, so we’re not surprised to see a downturn this quarter.  Also, given the economic difficulties faced by the automotive industry, it is possible that new investments in technologies such as robotics were delayed.’‘

Vincent said he was encouraged by the fact that sales of robots to non-automotive industries such as food, consumer goods, pharmaceuticals and life sciences increased in the first quarter.  As a result, the non-automotive share of robot orders rose to 40% as compared with 30% in the first quarter of 2005.

‘‘For the robotics industry to reach its full potential, we know that growth is needed in the non-automotive sectors as well as in automotive, so the increased share for non-automotive orders can be viewed as a positive sign,’‘ Vincent explained.

A total of 3,722 robots valued at $272 million were ordered by North American manufacturing companies in the January through March quarter.  When orders received by companies outside North America are included, the totals rise to 3,983 robots valued at $285.3 million.

RIA estimates that some 160,000 robots are now installed in American factories, placing the U.S. second only to Japan in robot use.

Founded in 1974, RIA is the only North American trade group devoted exclusively to promoting the robotics industry.  It currently represents some 250 member companies, including leading robot manufacturers, component suppliers, system integrators, end users, consulting firms, and research organizations.

RIA collects and reports statistics each quarter based on actual totals provide by member companies, which RIA estimates represents more than 90% of the North American robotics market.

In addition to collecting market data, RIA is best known for leading industry conferences and trade shows, such as this year’s ROBOTS 2006 conference set for June 7 & 8 in Las Vegas; development of the ANSI/RIA National Robot Safety Standard; and Robotics Online (www.robotics.org), the world’s leading resource for robotics information on the internet.

For more information about RIA and the robotics industry, visit www.robotics.org or contact RIA Headquarters at 734/994-6088.


Contact:
Jeff Burnstein
734/994-6088

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