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Flexible Automation Deployment Strengthens in North America

Although there is continued concern about manufacturing in the U.S., according to the Robotic Industries Association (www.roboticsonline.com; Ann Arbor, MI), a trade association, robot orders for the first three quarters were up 30% overall in North America.

Although there is continued concern about manufacturing in the U.S., according to the Robotic Industries Association (www.roboticsonline.com; Ann Arbor, MI), a trade association, robot orders for the first three quarters were up 30% overall in North America. And the auto industry, the perennial number-one user of industrial robots, has increased its order by 44%, said Donald A. Vincent, executive vice president of the RIA.

In terms of applications, the areas that have shown the most growth in '05 through Q3 are material handling, up 45%; arc welding, up 37%, and spot welding, up 19%.

Vincent estimates that orders in 2005 will end up higher than the last big year, 1999.