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US industrial robots market.

US industrial robots market

As you may have noticed by reading our Advanced Manufacturing Technology section during the last year, the day of the robot is at hand. According to Frost & Sullivan's (New York, NY) recent report Industrial Robot Market in the US, a mid '80s spending spree by American industry will exceed 20 percent a year real growth before leveling off at the end of the decade, thereby pushing the market to $900 million by 1992. The expansion will come on a market base of $500 million in 1982 (see graph).

Of the 50,000 robots, all types, in service in the US, four out of five are pick-and-place manipulators. "This percentage will decline as the more capable industrial equipment takes over,' the study notes. By 1992 the segment will cease to exist, its functions taken over by more sophisticated robots.

Pick-and-place manipulators represent 57 percent of annual unit volume, but only 12 percent of robotic dollar volume. The reason? They cost $5000 to $10,000 each while an intelligent (reprogrammable) robot can exceed $100,000. Intelligent robots are literally the manufacturing eyes and hands of the future, as growth rates will rise past 20 percent per year to as high as 40 percent in F&S's most optimistic scenario. The average cost of these robots will be chopped to $25,000 to $30,000 each by the end of the decade.

Many applications, such as spot welding and material handling, that fueled early growth will saturate, but technical gains in vision and tactile systems will help new applications such as arc welding and assembly to expand so rapidly that they will soon begin to dominate the industry. Devices for vision and tactile systems will achieve growth rates of 50 percent to 100 percent a year. But beware, such chaotic expansion will inevitably be followed by an industry shakeout.

Components, such as DC servomotors, resolvers, and controllers, are expected to increase volume slightly faster than the overall market, or up to 25 percent per year.

Topping all this off, services (including installation, training, and system integration) are forecasted to be an even brighter spot in the market.

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Copyright 1984 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Frost & Sullivan report
Publication:Tooling & Production
Date:Feb 1, 1984
Words:359
Previous Article:On corporate Darwinism.
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