A reader emailed me this article from Mike Shedlock. Whenever I read articles on manufacturing written by financial types I prepare for the worst (cue the legions of suits and polished fancy shoes that never saw a factory floor, pumping 3D Printers a couple years ago), but Mish plays it pretty straight and simply outlines the fierce competition among large shoe manufacturers to go Robo.
First off, I own iRobot (IRBT, an NFTRH+ technical highlight last weekend in NFTRH 396) and I always have Fanuc (FANUY) on watch. Robotics and automation are progress, period. And progress is not going to stop. But Fanuc was pumped by financial types (whose email updates I used to get) as a Robotics company even though I had warned last July that it was machine tool builder too, and machine tools were in trouble. I terminated that email letter, no matter how well respected the analysts (and they are).
You can see by this graphic from the company’s quarterly report (April 28, 2016) that the prime offender was… Robomachine, which is a machine tool. Robot held up well.
Indeed, Fanuc may ultimately be the more interesting Robotics situation due to its industrially focused applications. iRobot is more related to consumers (picture enslaved robo discs forced to clean peoples’ floors while they lounge around the pool drinking Piña coladas?) and defense/security. Industrial is where the job reductions Mish writes about would be and it will save giant corporations Gazillions.
I am going to clip the segment here because I just came upon more information and I want to reserve the rest for NFTRH 397. I am glad the reader got me looking into this more closely.
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