Related: Automotive Production
There probably isn’t a single person who hasn’t seen one of the multitudinous photos of a robotic weld line in a plant, with the sparks a-flying, like the one shown here, which is a shot of Mustangs going together in the AAI facility in Flat Rock, MI. Just how pervasive and important the auto industry is to the North American robotic industry is underscored by the first quarter 2006 numbers released by the Robotic Industries Association (RIA; Ann Arbor, MI; www.roboticsonline.com). Overall new orders were down 30%, driven primarily by the 39% decline in purchases by OEMs and suppliers. Don Vincent, RIA executive vp, observed, “”Given the economic difficulties faced by the automotive industry, it is possible that new investments in technologies such as robotics were delayed.” Robot suppliers probably hope so, because the auto industry accounts for more than 60% of all robot purchases in North America.