Robots are a big business. Factories around the world are discovering what the automobile industry has known for many years -- robots can be a productive component of an assembly line, adding speed and precision to manufacturing and helping to lower the cost of the final product. Robots of the future may have a role in the home as well the factory. You can invest in companies that design and build robots.
Robotics, the science and business of building robots, includes a wide variety of machines designed to mimic functions typically performed by human beings. Robots are widely used in industrial settings to carry out repetitive tasks on an assembly line and to perform precision machine operations. Robots are also used in security and military operations, such as robots designed for disarming bombs. Robots have not made substantial inroads into home use although designers are working on a variety of robots that could appear on the consumer market in the future.
Marketresearch.com estimates the current market for industrial and security robots was $21 billion in 2010 and could reach $30 billion by 2016. The market is growing at a rate of about six to seven percent per year. Marketresearch also reports that robot technologies are advancing rapidly, with about 50 new robotic-related patents issued each year.
Many companies involved in robotics are private firms that are not traded on the stock market. However, there are also publicly-traded companies active in robotics, such as Adept Technology Inc. (ADEP), Mazor Robotics (MZRTF) and MTS Systems (MTSC) traded in the U.S. stock market and can be purchased through domestic brokers. Foreign companies, such as Yujin Robot Co. in Korea, Kuka AG in Germany and Swiss-based ABB trade on non-US exchanges and can be bought through a broker that specializes in foreign stock purchases.
Other Robotic Companies
Many other companies are contributing to developments in robotics, such as Lockheed Martin, for which robotics is not yet a significant part of their overall business operations. Among the firms active in this area are Irobot Corporation, Kuka Robotics, Nachi Robotics, PILZ Automation and Unimation.
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