The global robotics industry has witnessed a massive boom in recent years. According to Junji Tsuda, president, International Federation of Robotics, “the prospects for 2018 and beyond are even more promising”. The fact that the robotics market is highly fragmented has proved to be a crucial asset to its success. One such branch of robotics which is fast gaining momentum is that of collaborative robotics. COBOTS are essentially those robots that are programmed to interact and work alongside humans in a safe working environment. Although a pretty extensive expanse, following are some of the key trends that can be expected in the collaborative robotics market in 2018
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- Potential to Replace Human Jobs
Cobots are increasingly being regarded as the future of automation. Several companies are inclined to integrate robots with their existing human workforce. The increasing global production in several industrial sectors demands higher manpower, leading to increased costs. To avoid any extra expense, several leading companies are integrating these collaborative robots in their production process. So efficient are these cobots in their jobs that manufacturers are seriously considering to replace a major part of their existing human workforce with them. Apart from cost-cutting, these cobots also offer advantage like precision in work and the ability to tirelessly work in multiple shifts.
- Cobots to Prove a Major Asset for the Automotive Industries:
Major employment for cobots come from the automotive industry. They are widely used for assistance in assembly and production lines. A host of productive tasks, ranging from repetitive, monotonous work to more labour-intensive efforts can now be easily delegated to them. According to a market analysis report by Inkwood Research, the automotive sector is likely to contribute $217 million to the global collaborative market. Some of the automotive companies that are widely collaborating their workforce with these robots include Ford, Bajaj Autos, BMW, Continental Automotive, Tesla Inc, Volkswagen, and Mercedes-Benz amongst others.
- Europe to Witness a Boom in Research for Collaborative Robotics
Rising focus on the innovation and development of collaborative robots from the government as well as private organizations in this region is expected to be a major trend in the global collaborative robotics market. Several emerging start-ups are increasingly catering to the growing market demands for cobots in this region. For instance: The Exotec Solutions, a newly established French robotics startup has recently launched an order preparation system which is powered by a fleet of collaborative mobile robots that offer e-commerce retailers with an order preparation. The total collaborative robots market size in Europe for the year 2018 is anticipated to reach $172 million. At present, the German Automobile sector is the biggest market in Europe as it is increasingly deploying this technology. According to the Federation of Robotics, the U.K government, too, is focusing on developing a thriving robotics industry. Organizations like Ocado Technologies, in collaboration with several European universities, are focusing on developing an autonomous humanoid robot which will utilize artificial intelligence, advanced vision systems and machine learning to support and understand the operations of human workers. If the goal is achieved, it would be a major breakthrough in the overall global industrial robotics market.
- Food and Beverage to Emerge as the Strongest End-User Industry
Applications of cobots in the food and beverage industry are soon expected to override all other major end-user industries. Cobots offer increased flexibility by handling the repetitive, complex and time-consuming process in manufacturing. For example, Six-axis robot arms, a Universal Robots product is increasingly being employed in applications like pick & place, inspection, and packaging in several operations and production process of food and beverage industry. Robotics technologies, ranging from something as simple as a robotic fruit picking systems to more complex robot run lettuce farm, are paving the way for technological innovations concerning cobots and industrial robotics in the F&B sector.
- Emerging Start-ups
Robotic automation is the future for several industry verticals including healthcare, automotive, mining, food and beverage, etc. The robotics market is already brimming with a host of new entrants that are eager to make a mark in the global market. Some of the recent industry favourites have been Foldimate, Hebi Robotics, Exotec Solutions, Blue Danube, and Genesis Dimension. Factors like low investments for initial set-up, short integration time and ease of control are inspiring several companies to experiment with this technology. An estimated 109% rise in the supply of industrial robotics was observed between 2010-2015. If a similar trend continues, all these potential startups could possibly make headway in the global scenario by reaping considerable market benefits.
Author: Jui Pande
Sr. Content Writer and Editor, Inkwood Research