Robot sales plunged through the first half of 2009, according to the Robotic Industries Association.
The Ann Arbor-based trade group said North American robot suppliers saw new orders decline by 36 percent in units and by 47 percent in U.S. dollars, compared with the first half of 2008.
Weakness in new orders from automobile manufacturers and their suppliers was a major reason for the decline, RIA President Jeff Burnstein said Aug. 13.
The first-half numbers do have some bright spots, such as a 34 percent increase in orders from the life sciences, pharmaceutical and biomedical industries, as well as a 7 percent gain in sales aimed at food and consumer-goods producers.
But the overall decline is likely to last into 2010, according to Tammy Mulcahy, an official at ABB Robotics in Auburn Hills, Mich., who chairs RIA's statistics committee.
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