The robotics industry is feeling the impact of a capital equipment slowdown as new orders for North American robotics companies fell 36% in the first quarter of 2001 compared to the same period last year. According to the Robotic Industries Association (RIA), orders declined for all major applications areas except inspection and lightweight material handling. Donald A. Vincent, RIA's executive vice president, says, "Fortunately, the robotics industry has a strong backlog of unfilled orders and is well positioned to ride out the storm until the economy turns positive again." Based on feedback from RIA member companies, Vincent says he expects to see orders pick up in the second half of 2001.