The so-called “robot take over” has not happened yet at least from the sci-Fi perspective, thank God. As we are discussing, What Is the Future in Robotics? However, folks in the industrial world like those who manufacture stuff on a really large scale have already seen robots take over factory workspaces and nearly every job, especially during the pandemic period.
Are we going to see more industrial automation in 2022 going by recent trends or is there room for the traditional factory worker or machine operator? Stay tuned to find out.
The Biggest 2021 Robotics Trends That Will Spill Over To 2022
Here are some of the most-talked-about industrial trends of 2021 that will definably continue in the year 2022 and probably the better part of this decade:
Automation to Adapt- Robot Purchases Rise during Covid
The pandemic came and nearly all industries had to deal with an even more pronounced staffing problem; not that factory staff shortage and turnover was ever a new thing in the developed world but it certainly got worse. As a businessman would tell you, however, the ability to adapt is the only way to stay in business.
To adapt, many businesses, especially those that deal with the production of fast-moving consumer goods had to fast-track their automation timelines. There was a surge in the purchase of industrial robots or small robotic arms towards the middle of 2020 and all through 2021. So much so that major robot manufactures couldn’t keep up with demand.
According to a recent industry report published by the International Federation of Robotics (IFR), robot sales rose exponentially in the last two to three years. Service robot sales rose by over 32% while the value of leased robots in the logistics sector rose by over 110%. Sales for other types of robots including new collaborative robots also rose.
Why This Trend is Important for the Industry
Even before the pandemic, many businesses that could have a use for a modern robot had a plan to purchase or lease one in the short term. What the pandemic did with the lockdowns and worker shortages was to force many businesses to adapt and automate.
For the robotics industry, this is a welcome development since more sales mean growth and progress. Indeed, we are already seeing previously struggling robot manufacturers rise from the dust as demand increases. More importantly, smaller robotics startups have made big strides in this period as they rush to provide innovative automation solutions fit for today’s challenges. More innovation and competition in the robotics space have always been welcome as they fuel progress.
As we are discussing about What Is the Future in Robotics? The 2019 to 2021 wave of automation adoption is likely to continue growing as most businesses realize the potential of automation and find new ways to add robots into their production environment. For companies involved in the creation and marketing of robotic solutions, the next five or so years are likely to be very promising and exciting.
New Robot Adoption Models- Robotics as A Service (RaaS)
A new trend that has caught on in recent years is a business model where a company that needs to automate uses already set up and ready-to-go robots belonging to a robot service provider. This is what is now called Robotics as a Service or RaaS.
The RaaS model is quite similar to SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS models because its fundamental ideas and ideals are borrowed from these cloud computing models. RaaS allows businesses that need robots to access them without the large initial costs. Instead, the robot service provider already has a robot facility that is ready to handle any tasks or processing that a client requires.
The RaaS model has caught on in sectors such as e-logistics, manufacturing, warehousing, and agriculture where businesses can access ready-to-go robot facilities set up by third parties. Some key advantages to the RaaS model include reduced costs and better availability. This business model also allows smaller businesses that would otherwise struggle to purchase and maintain industrial robots to access them and ramp up production when they need to.
Collaborative Robot Adoption On The Rise
One trend that began way before the pandemic and is predicted to continue in 2022 and beyond is the adoption of smart collaborative robots in all sectors where automation is used. A collaborative robot or cobot is a modern robot designed to work alongside humans safely. Collaborative robots use a range of sensors, and intelligent software to detect safe operating distances from humans for safety purposes.
Collaborative robot adoption has been rising steadily in the past five years and new, intelligent, and cheaper cobots that are also multipurpose come to market. The collaborative robot space has especially opened the market for smaller players on both sides. Smaller, upcoming cobot manufacturers have seen their sales grow exponentially and small and mediums sized businesses have found it easier and cheaper to automate.
Going forward, especially in 2022, there is a likelihood that these new robots will become part of daily life in almost all sectors. There is particular interest in the development of new robots that can assist instead of replacing skilled workers in all sectors. For instance, modern e-commerce warehouse companies have been the biggest drivers behind the collaborative robot revolution in the past five or so years.
Also read: Neuralink
Intelligent And Multi-Purpose Robots
The biggest limitation with traditional industrial robots has been their lack of versatility and intelligence. A new trend in industrial robots that will continue in 2022 and beyond is the use of AI-enabled industrial robots with six or more axis that can do a number of tasks, learn and improve how they handle everyday tasks. This will pave way for more versatile robots that are also more efficient.
All in all, there is a lot to look forward to in the field of industrial robotics and automation as we head towards 2022. The wheel of innovation in this sector is always turning as new solutions to emerging problems and production demands emerge. Here is to a more productive 2022.
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