March 15, 2004
Explosive Growth Predicted In Worldwide Vehicle Production
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by Jeff Rowe - Contributing Editor
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The North American market for industrial robotics grew by 16% in 2003, with FANUC Robotics' sales growing at an even faster pace. "Today's manufacturers need to increase efficiency to compete in the global marketplace and view robotic automation as a key component of their strategy," said Rick Schneider, president and CEO of FANUC Robotics America Inc. "In 2004 we expect continued growth in the U.S. robotics market due to the need for North American manufacturing to further decrease costs while improving quality. Robotic automation becomes the key to survive in the industrial market."

FANUC Robotics America Inc. designs, engineers and manufactures robots and robotic systems for a wide range of industries and applications including arc and spot welding, material handling (machine tending, palletizing, packing), material removal, assembly, paint finishing and dispensing. The company also provides software designed for specific applications, along with controls, vision products, and aftermarket support.

Any way you slice it, 120,000 is a lot of robots to have produced and have working in the field, or should I say, on the factory floor. FANUC produces robots that are used in just about every process involved with manufacturing - assembly, welding, painting, finishing, cleaning, grinding, polishing, dispensing, and material loading and unloading. FANUC makes deploying robots relatively easy because once you have identified a process that you want to automate with a robot, the next step is usually selecting a specific model of robot to suit the task. According to FANUC, there are a number of different ways to determine which robot is right for your application, and a robot's payload is a simple starting place. A robot's payload is the weight of the end-of-arm tooling and workpiece. Determining the weight of the product and tool you want to carry is the first step in finding the proper robot model. Once you've identified the approximate payload, it is important to review other important features such as axis speed, reach, moments of inertia, etc. You can view FANUC's product line in several different ways. By selecting a payload range, you can review all robot models within the range selected. If you want to view the entire product line and compare payload, reach, and repeatability, you can select a product line. If you want to view robots based upon the application(s) they
are suitable for, select application. It's obviously not as simple as buying a toaster, but FANUC does make it relatively easy to quickly spec out a potential robot based on your needs and criteria.

Jeffrey Rowe is the editor and publisher of MCADCafé and MCAD Weekly Review. He can be reached at
Email Contact or 408.850.9230.

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