Economic times are tough all over. Companies are slashing forecasts, shrinking headcount, and cutting costs where ever possible. One might think that it's perfect timing for robotics to step in and automate processes and production. Unfortunately that doesn't seem to be the case. Even robots are getting pink slips, and planned robot purchases have either been canceled or delayed indefinitely.
For example, Yaskawa Electric, a major supplier of motors, servos, components for factory automation, and a well known developer of advanced factory robots, just released their November 2008 financial performance and the news isn't pretty. Industrial servo motor sales dropped by 39% over the same month one year earlier. Even worse, their robot operation sales plummeted by 48%.