Robots & Vision Show attracts record attendance

DETROIT, MI-Nearly 6300 people attended the biennial International Robots & Vision Show held May 11-13. This figure represented a 24% increase over the 1997 show attendance. "The jump in attendance indicates that more companies are becoming aware of the power robots and vision have to solve their manufacturing challenges and make their companies stronger global competitors," said Donald A. Vincent, executive vice president of the Robotic Industries Association (RIA). "A high percentage of the au

Jul 1st, 1999

Robots & Vision Show attracts record attendance

George Kotelly Executive Editor

georgek@pennwell.com

DETROIT, MI-Nearly 6300 people attended the biennial International Robots & Vision Show held May 11-13. This figure represented a 24% increase over the 1997 show attendance. "The jump in attendance indicates that more companies are becoming aware of the power robots and vision have to solve their manufacturing challenges and make their companies stronger global competitors," said Donald A. Vincent, executive vice president of the Robotic Industries Association (RIA). "A high percentage of the audience indicated that they plan to purchase robots or machine-vision systems within the next year," he noted.

The increase in show attendance coincided with the increase in robot and vision use. According to RIA statistics, the North American robotics industry sold more robots in the first quarter of 1999 than in any quarter since the industry began collecting statistics in 1983. A total of 4732 robots valued at $362.8 million were sold, an increase of 67% in units and 24% in value over 1998 figures. The robotics industry shipped 10,857 robots valued at $1.028 billion in 1998, the industry`s second best shipping year ever.

The RIA estimated that spot welding applications in the automobile industry accounted for at least 50% of all robot orders, trailed by material-handling applications in the electronics; this was followed by the food and beverage, pharmaceutical, consumer goods, aerospace, and appliance industries. According to the RIA, some 92,000 robots are working in American factories.

Added Vincent, "We expect the success of the Robots & Vision Show to further stimulate sales for the second half of 1999 and into the year 2000. Approximately 55% of the attendees were from nonautomotive industries. This is further evidence that robotics use is continuing to be embraced by a wider audience. Use of robots in the electronics industry should grow at an average rate of 35% a year for the next several years. The key factors driving this expected growth are mass customization of electronic goods, specifically communications equipment; the miniaturization of electronic goods and their internal components particularly in PCB assembly; and restandardization of the semiconductor industry, which will completely retool itself over the next five years."

Show highlights included the "People and Robotics" keynote presentation by Ross Perot, chairman of the board, president, and chief executive officer of Perot Systems Corp. (Dallas, TX), who focused mainly on the challenges of attracting, keeping, and motivating a talented work force in high-technology companies. On the show floor, more than 160 suppliers of robots, vision systems, and related automation technologies exhibited their products. Pioneer Hi-bred International (Johnston, IA) received the 1999 Robots & Vision User Recognition Award for its use of robots and machine vision to depalletize bags of agriculture seed.

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