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Robots stumble amid COVID-19 pressure

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New data released by the Association for Advancing Automation (A3) and ITR Economics suggest that even robots, which in many ways have been the darling technology of the pandemic, are not immune from stagnating sales. The data indicates a substantial year-to-date decline in robotics, machine vision, and motion control orders compared to last year.

Released as part of the Global Economic and Automation Outlook, the numbers put the decline in robot orders in North America, which totaled 13,524 units, at a whopping 18% compared to the first half of 2019. Order revenues fell in equal measure to $716 million in the North American market.

The scale of the contraction may seem surprising given the rosy outlook for automation amid pandemic-related shutdowns. However, the top-line numbers also mask strong performance in certain automation categories.

“It’s clear that our industry is feeling the effects of COVID-19, its strain on supply chains,

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