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    Exploratory Workshop on the Social Impacts of Robotics

Mitchell Hutchins Inc.

the important crieteria for robot purchases :

1. Reduce manufacturing costs

2. Provide direct labor savings.

Other factors also cited include enhanced product quality, an improved working environment and tying into other forms of computerized automation though the relative importance of these

are clearly

below

the

between 2-3

years

and

first two mentioned.

is

not

expected

to

The

change

median average expected payback period runs materially during the first half of the 1980s.

Table

8:

Median

Average

Expected

Payback

Period

Now

1985

Automotive Casting/Foundry Heavy Manufacturing Light Manufacturing Electrical/Electronic Aerospace Source: RIA.

2.7 Years

2.0 Years

3.0 3.0 2.0 2.0 2.0

2.5 3.0 2.0 2.0 2.5

While foreign built robots are not a significant factor currently, it is expected that in-

creased exports from will lead to foreign

Japan by 1983 manufacturers

as well as foreign owned U.S. manufacturing

facilities

maintaining

a

significant

presence

in

the

market.

The

SME

survey suggested that 20% of the dollar value of robots is likely to be supplied manufacturers, with cost advantage and overall quality (manufacturing and design) key factors that led to a foreign built purchase.

by foreign being the

Robot Demand Expected To Be Sensitive To Economic Cycles”

It appears quite will be a cyclical savings as well as

likely that demand for robots as well as a growth market.

as well as other factory automation equipment Using expected cost reduction and direct labor

productivity

improvement

as

part

of

a

return

on

investment

analysis

suggests

that manufacturers will be sensitive to a reduction in business expectations and cash flow

which can result from an economic downturn.

This has been the case in

robot sales in terms of both unit production conditions in 1971 and 1975 despite the small

and value showed moderate size of the industry.

Japan where

industrial

sensitivity

to economic

1968

0.2

0.4

1969

0.4

1.5

1970

1.7

4.9

1971

1.3

4.3

1972

1.7

6.1

1973

2.5

9.3

1974

4.2

11.4

1975

4.4

11.1

1976

7.2

14.1

1977

8.6

21.6

1978

10.1

27.3

1979

14.5

42.4

Source:

JIRA.

.

It is conceivable for the U.S. robot sector to evolve into a strong cyclical growth market somewhat akin to the minicomputer or semiconductor sector, i.e. strong unit and sales growth with each trough in demand significantly higher (perhaps 30-40%) than the previous trough.

Table 9:

Production

of

Japanese

Industrial

Robots

Units (000 Units)

Value

(

Billl)

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