The future of industrial robots looks very bright as many companies are looking to automate their production lines, especially with the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a report from Reportlinker from November 2020, industrial robotics which is the top segment in robotics, is about to experience a compound annual growth of 18.2% with revenues growing to $176.8 billion in 2025 from $76.6 billion in 2020.
Here are the top 5 emerging trends in industrial robotics in 2021 and after.
1 | Smart Industrial Robots
Industrial robots are now able to communicate with each other without any human support. With the increased digitization of robots by harnessing the power of the internet, robots can now be programmed to independently communicate with each other which increases the efficiency and speed of manufacturing. Manufacturers are also able to leverage real-time data analytics to improve production and help in making business decisions as well.
2 | Robots to Work in Small Factories
While we are accustomed to big specialized robots in assembly lines, they are expensive to install and are not suited for small factories. The future calls for small robots connected to the same network and AMRs (Autonomous Mobile Robots), which are easier to fit in small factories. They are equipped with navigation technology, making them mobile and more flexible than traditional industrial robots.
Once they are done with their tasks, you can reprogram them for other uses instead of dismantling them. This encourages new markets to automate their processes, such as in the food and beverage industry. Companies like DIY-Robotics offer predesigned, modular, and mobile robotic cells that can be integrated into any production line and moved to the next when needed. These robots are very different from traditional industrial robots that were huge, expensive, and needed to be built on sight thus requiring a lot of effort during installation.
3 | Robots That Reduce the Carbon Footprint
With the growing sensitivity towards climate change, investments in robotic technologies that leave a smaller carbon footprint will be expected to grow. The robots of today and the future are more energy-efficient, and therefore require less energy to perform similar tasks to other energy-consuming industrial robots. They also have a higher precision rate which produces fewer rejects and below standard goods that have to be disposed of.
4 | Collaborative Robots
The focus on industrial safety is one of the trends in 2021. This is especially key when it comes to collaboration with humans working hand in hand with industrial robots on the same assembly line without the need for safety barriers. Human-robot collaboration has been improved by the advancement of software, sensory capabilities, and end-of-arm tooling (EOAT) which give industrial robots the capability to detect changes on the line and respond quickly and safely.
These collaborative robots are known as Cobots and are one of the fastest-growing trends in industrial robotics. This is because they are not only collaborative and safe but also easy to program, quick to set up and allow for flexible automation.
5 | Industrial Robots Securing the Supply Chain
The COVID-19 pandemic has not started any trends in robotic technology, it has just accelerated their use beyond what was thought possible. The future of industrial robots belongs in helping fix and stabilize the supply chains that have been severely exposed by the pandemic. Automation of processes will only increase especially in markets in high-wage countries. Doing so will increase their flexibility in the production lines as well as ensure stability and security during uncertain times.
The robot revolution has just begun and we expect to see more investment and attention in this area in the future. Automation of many mundane processes in the assembly line will have to occur to not only increase speeds and efficiency but also reduce costs of production. Gradually, humans will rely on robots for manufacturing even more which is a trend that has already begun in 2021.