Buoyed by early innovators and adopters, the collaborative robot (cobot) market will become increasingly mainstream over the next 10 years. According to new analysis from ABI Research, the yearly revenue for cobot arms will reach US$11.8 billion by 2030, an enormous increase from US$711 million in 2019. Moreover, the total value of the collaborative market is considerably greater, when accounting for software-related revenues and end-of-arm tooling (EOAT) accessories. Under this broader definition of the market, the cobot ecosystem is worth just over US$1 billion in 2019 and will be worth US$24 billion by 2030, with a CAGR of 28.6 percent.
Currently, the cobot market makes a small percentage of the industrial market. Revenue from cobot arms is five percent of industrial robot hardware, but that will increase to 29 percent by 2030. This growth is not just attributed to adoption, but also to the increasing convergence between the two sub-groups. Through advances in sensors, machine vision, and motion control, industrial robots will increasingly take on the benefits of collaborative systems.
With 59 percent of global cobot shipments in 2018, Universal Robots has managed to achieve relevance for screw-driving applications in the auto industry, attracting the business of big car manufacturers and component suppliers like Lear and Continental, while also being employed by smaller companies for pick-and-place and machine tending applications. Other companies, like manufacturer Jabil, are deploying collaborative robots en masse for their effectiveness as re-deployable and flexible assets in an increasingly fast-changing working environment. Manufacturing requires increasing flexibility through customisation, last-minute orders, and the increasing relevance of high-volume, low-mix automation. To meet this challenge, the current roster of cobot solutions are not a complete panacea but are an important step in the direction of a leaner and more flexible workstation.
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