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Cobots Lead The Future Of The Global Industrial Robots Market

Cobots Lead the Future Of The Global Industrial Robots Market

Frost & Sullivan’s recent analysis finds that the global industrial robotics market will reach revenues of $38.3 billion in 2024 from $22.2 billion in 2020 at a CAGR of 12.2 percent. Although the industry was curtailed by the COVID-19 pandemic and uncertainty in the automotive business, rising demand from other high-growth sectors is expected to propel it over the next five years. Pharmaceuticals will be the fastest-growing segment, with a CAGR of 17.2 percent from 2019 to 2024, reaching $3.33 million by the end of the forecasted period, followed by food & beverage (F&B) and electrical and electronics, expanding at 15.8 percent and 15.1 percent, respectively.

Asia-Pacific continues to dominate the global industrial robotics market, and revenues are estimated to top $25.08 billion by 2024, with China, Japan and South Korea driving progress. The European region is the second most important, propelled by the automotive industry and Germany—the fifth-largest country globally for industrial robotics. North America’s ongoing trend of production automation and keeping all manufacturing operations in-house puts it in the third position, with forecasted revenues of $6.19 billion by 2024.

“The global battle against the COVID-19 pandemic has proven to be a strong use case for industrial robots, which helped assure business continuity,” said Nandini Natarajan, Industry Analyst, Frost & Sullivan. “While 2020 witnessed reduced investments in robotics, the demand for industrial robots will rise sharply from 2021 on. The introduction of low-cost robots and innovative business models such as Robots-as-a-Service (RaaS) are expected to drive demand from small and medium enterprises (SMEs).”

Natarajan added: “Collaborative robots (cobots) are experiencing rapid market growth thanks to their utility, ease of installation, and consistently decreasing price, making them an affordable and viable solution for a wide range of applications. It will be the fastest-growing segment by 2024, recording a CAGR of 32.8 percent (2019-2024) and reaching $1.78 million in global revenues. Advances in 5G and edge computing will be instrumental in equipping cobots with improved flexibility and easier implementation.”

For further opportunities, market participants should explore these strategic recommendations:

  • Embedded Vision and Machine Learning in Robotics: Embedded systems need to be lightweight, consume less energy, and be adaptable to be retrofitted/integrated with any robotic system. Manufacturers need to integrate advanced supportive technologies such as 3D perception and deep machine learning to enable new machine vision applications.
  • Smart Robot Grippers for Safe Collaboration with Human Workers: Robots have become more collaborative with human workforces instead of replacing them, as was the case before. Therefore, there is a need to design robot grippers that are more collaborative and safer. End-of-arm tooling (EOAT) providers will need to develop robot prototypes with advanced sensors that can detect human workers’ presence and movement.
  • 5G and Edge AI for Robotic Independence and Flexibility of Real-time Applications: While 5G will provide benefits such as low latency and on-the-go decision-making, edge-based AI will enable robots to carry out data processing on the machine without data traveling to and from the cloud. There will be a huge demand for secure local data processing closer to the robot.

 

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The Top 3 Applications Of Cobots

The Top 3 Applications Of Cobots

Automation has seen massive growth over the last decade where a variety of industries have unleashed the vast potential of robots. Amongst various implementations, collaborative robots (cobots) have seen an accelerating growth in adoption over the years even though they are relatively new.

According to Loup Ventures, cobots contributed to about three percent of robot sales in 2018, but are expected to increase significantly to 34 percent by 2025. Why?

Compared to the large and bulky industrial machines, cobots are designed to safely operate in close proximity to humans to complete tasks. Traditional industrial robots are often mammoth-sized machines that are static and difficult to repurpose and reprogram. By contrast, cobots are compact and flexible and can operate without safety cages or fencing directly alongside people (upon risk assessment), thereby reducing footprint and space usage.

Cobots can be deployed on a wide variety of tasks and are easily redeployed when there is a change in the tasks required.

Cobots, unlike humans, do not suffer from fatigue and can work 24/7/365, repeating each task in exactly the same way. Therefore, with none of the human errors caused by fatigue, cobots provide higher business productivity, efficiency, and product quality.

Most industrial robots offer a payback period that is too long to justify the investment. Whereas for cobots, the average payback period is as short as twelve months, making them more accessible to growing enterprises.

Cobots are highly flexible, allowing them to be reprogrammed for different tasks if manufacturing processes change, making them more investment-worthy.

What are the applications of cobots?

There are many collaborative robot applications across all industries.

Cobots, in general, are able to improve efficiency and safety of many industries by assuming dull, dirty, and dangerous work. These include assembly, dispensing, finishing, machine tending, material handling, welding, material removal, quality inspections, and more. The three common classes of cobot deployments are material handling, assembly and quality assurance, and material removal.

Material handling

In manufacturing, material handling refers to the movement, protection, storage and control of materials and products throughout manufacturing, warehousing, distribution, consumption, and disposal. This is often one of the most dangerous jobs in manufacturing as materials such as metals, plastics, and other substances can pose a great risk to human workers. Additionally, many material handling tasks are repetitive, which can give rise to repetitive strain injury and errors due to fatigue. Manufacturing plants that use robots see significantly fewer workplace injuries.

In JVC Electronics Indonesia (JEIN), workers were performing menial and repetitive tasks such as soldering, separating cut pieces of Printed Circuit Board (PCB), and attaching a glass display on the car stereo units. JEIN manufactures over 400,000 products each month to serve global customers and this requires a fast turnaround time with minimal defects, to consistently meet production targets. The adoption of UR3 cobots relieved workers from handling these repetitive and high risk tasks, which emit hazardous fumes and dust particles.

“One of the key features of the UR3 robot is its force control for adaptive safety; it senses external forces and stops immediately when a collision is detected. Our workers are able to work in close proximity with the cobots with no safety guarding after an initial risk assessment,” said Sukijan, Plant Supervisor at JEIN.

Assembly and quality assurance

Universal Robots’ cobots are specifically designed to work alongside human employees and relieve them from tedious and difficult assembly jobs. This includes welding small pieces together, drilling screws, and similar assembly tasks.

Cobots can also be used to assist with quality assurance during the production process. Unlike humans, cobots perform the same task the same way, every time, without growing tired or suffering any loss in performance. For example, cobots can place a vision device in the same location for as many measurements and positions on as many workpieces as needed – all without optical recalibration.

Blue Star Limited is a leading manufacturer of air conditioning and commercial refrigeration products in India. A vital task in the plant is the copper tube expansion, which was done manually. The repetitive task is mentally and physically stressful, and as a result the plant faced issues of quality rejection. This is a task which requires human intervention and heavy industrial robots may be unsafe. Blue Star needed a solution where robots and humans can work together to complete the task safely, and hence chose to work with cobots. The company increased their production by 10 percent and eradicated quality rejects, delivering their vision of high-quality products.

Material Removal

Other tasks that are also crucial to production can be handled by cobots. For example, material removal by robots is needed for any process that involves filling moulds. These cobots can assess the moulded piece and take care of trimming any excess metal or plastic without damaging the part or subjecting human workers to the risk of injury.

Meanwhile, cobots fitted with dispensing tools and hardware can be used to add glue or other adhesives, while cobots fitted with a sanding kit from the UR+ platform can be used to polish pieces for a bright, smooth finish.

Cobots are growing in presence and popularity mostly due to an increasingly budget-friendly price tag, easier programming which reduces implementation and training time, and safety qualities. With these factors in place, cobots are expected to be major contributors to the growth of manufacturing, assembly and other industries.

Article by James McKew, Regional Director Asia-Pacific, Universal Robots

 

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Teradyne Appoints New President Of Universal Robots

Teradyne Appoints New President Of Universal Robots

Teradyne, Inc. has announced that Kim Povlsen has been appointed President of Universal Robots. Povlsen, brings global executive leadership from a high-tech and commercial perspective and will lead Universal Robots’ next stage of growth and innovation. Kim begins his new role at Universal Robots on March 1, 2021.

“I am delighted to introduce Kim Povlsen as the new President of Universal Robots” said Greg Smith, President of Teradyne’s Industrial Automation Group, and acting President of Universal Robots.

“Kim combines a fantastic track record as a dynamic executive with a background in and a tremendous passion for robotics. With Kim on board, Universal Robots is poised to strengthen its leadership in the global market for collaborative robotics. With Kim’s leadership, we can accelerate the growth in new applications and market growth for cobots.”

Kim has held various executive business and technology leadership roles at Schneider Electric, a global energy management and automation company. Most recently, he served as Vice President, Strategy & Technology, responsible for the technology strategy and execution within a multi-billion dollar global organization. Kim lives in Aarhus, Denmark, and holds a master’s degree in Computer Science & Embedded Engineering from the University of Southern Denmark.

“I have been impressed with Universal Robots for some time” said Kim. “To me, the company represents the pinnacle of innovation and potential and I was thrilled to be approached for this unique leadership role. The company not only pioneered the category of collaborative robots, created an ecosystem of partner technology solutions and a vast global distribution network to serve customers in their varied industrial automation needs, it also has the potential to fundamentally reshape automation across the global economy. I really look forward to working with, learning from and being part of the great people at Universal Robots.”

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Cobots Set To Benefit Businesses In Asia

Cobots Set To Benefit Businesses In Asia

Strong growth for cobot projected from 2020 to 2026 with Asia expected to surpass Europe by 2021

In a report by the World Robotics 2020 Industrial Report, it shows a record of 2.7 million industrial robots operating in factories globally, with 373,000 units shipped in 2019. In fact, Singapore has the highest density of industrial robots with 918 industrial robots used per 10,000 employees. In Singapore, top installations of industrial robots are found in electrical & electronics industry, followed by rubber and plastics, metal and machinery, food and others in no specific order of installation numbers. Increasing move towards automation in the production of electronic devices will continue to push robot installations in Singapore, and other Asian countries, including Republic of Korea, Japan and Taiwan.

Amongst industrial robots, collaborative robots (cobots) continues to be fastest growing segment of industrial automation, projected to grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 41.8 percent globally during 2020 to 2026, in a report by MarketsandMarkets. Asia Pacific cobot market is projected to become the largest cobot market worldwide, growing at a CAGR of 45.46 percent, with an addressable cumulative market value of $13.17 billion over the next 7 years in terms of cobot hardware.

The growth of collaborative robots is fuelled mainly by the advantages it offers, such as effective employee utilisation, higher productivity and flexibility in redeployment. One of the most significant difference between industrial robots and cobots, is the ability of cobots to interact safely with humans in a shared workspace. Manufacturing and assembly plants, especially in developed countries, are expected to adopt cobots quickly.

“With the world battling COVID-19, 2020 delivered some ingenious cobot implementations. From personal protective equipment manufacturing to swab testing, collaborative robots (cobots) are improving the efficiency, safety, and quality of countless processes. The vast majority of cobot implementations are found in electronics and automotive manufacturing and industrial environments, but cobots have the flexibility to be used in a wide variety of sectors from agriculture and medical to pharma,” said James McKew, Regional Director of Asia-Pacific in Universal Robots.

“The experience of 2020 and the uncertainty that we are facing in 2021, are driving companies to review their business strategies and workspace transformation. The pandemic is accelerating interest in cobots as it enables safe distancing in manufacturing and assembly plants to minimise the potential spread of infections, while fully engaging workers productively and efficiently,” he added.

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Collaborative Robots Open New Horizons In Quality Control Processes

Collaborative Robots Open New Horizons In Quality Control Processes

Today, with manufacturing in real need of flexible solutions, applications of the latest human and robot collaboration are highly demanded. By: Darrell Adams, Head of Southeast Asia & Oceania, Universal Robots

Across different sectors and regulatory environments, all manufacturers need to ensure consistency of product. Conducting inspections on business-critical systems ensures that the loss of quality and production stoppages are prevented. Collaborative robots (cobots) offer suitable solutions to manufacturers. Hence, cobot-based quality control and inspection systems that can transition between different end products in very little time has become very attractive.

Flexible operation with cobots

Manufacturers are constantly striving to meet the quality control demands of high-mix and low volume production runs. Easy to incorporate into existing production lines and a cinch to program, UR cobots are uniquely positioned to deliver results in fast-moving quality control environments. With the ability to shift from pick and place and handling roles to inspection tasks quickly, cobots are easily reconfigured to inspect new parts. This makes cobots the perfect technology for both future-proofing inspection processes and ensuring business continuity in difficult times. This operational flexibility extends to human-robot collaboration. Human-robot teams will improve the accuracy of quality control operations while human workers can be reassigned to more interesting tasks.

One of the world’s largest manufacturers of bathroom accessories and auto parts, Xiamen Runner Industrial Corporation in China, has installed 64 UR robots to upgrade the efficiency of the production process. Before deploying UR robots, most operations at Runner Corporation were manual with operator fatigue posing risks on both safety and product yield. The company was devoted to developing a highly efficient, flexible, and reliable production line. Ever since the deployment of UR robots, Runner Corporation has witnessed a sharp increase in its product yield while redeployment of staff positions effectively helped reduce the company’s employee turnover rate. The UR robots enabled automated production with unprecedented flexibility.

Improvement of quality and productivity on production lines

Meanwhile, Japan-based Koyo Electronics Industries, a member of the JTEKT Group who boasts the world’s top share in the automotive steering bearings, deployed UR robots to improve quality and productivity. The company has been consistently involved in the development, manufacturing, and sales of electronic equipment since its establishment in 1955, continuing to create products that surpass reliability and functionality standards. In the production of products that require strict quality, the challenge has become how to increase productivity according to an increase in demand.

As such, UR3 cobot was introduced in the touch panel quality inspection process. The cobot works with higher accuracy and stability as compared to human workers, this drives improvement in the quality of work. In fact, for in-vehicle products that require strict quality standards, productivity has also increased 31 percent due to the operational stability of the cobot. The experience from implementing UR cobots has built confidence and high hopes for future development within Koyo Electronics.

Easier quality control (QC) related cobot deployments

UR cobots are proven technologies for quality inspection applications and success stories like these abound. With the launch of the new UR+ Application Kit platform, designed to help manufacturers streamline cobot deployments by providing proven software and hardware for the most popular cobot applications, QC-related cobot deployments are made easier with the addition of kits such as the Q-Span Workstation Kit. The Workstation is a flexible solution for quality control measurement inspection developed by UR partners at New Scale Robotics. The system’s measurement resolution of 2.5 µm (0.0001 inches) enables manufacturers to improve precision, consistency, yield, and quality in small-part measurement.

As customer expectations and demand increases, manufacturers aim to maintain quality standards and focus on delivering products efficiently without sacrificing quality. Whether manufacturers are looking for a way to ensure business continuity or shifting production to new products with different inspection requirements, cobots are ready to help make automated quality control processes easier to deploy and more efficient than ever.

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Industrial Robots VS Cobots—Which Is Right For You?

Industrial Robots VS Cobots—Which Is Right For You?

Industrial robots have offered benefits to many organisations ever since it was first introduced, but collaborative robots (cobots) have been a game-changing force recently. Article by Darrell Adams, Head of Southeast Asia & Oceania, Universal Robots.

Cobots made automation accessible and affordable for many organisations for whom traditional robotics were out of reach. But automating appropriately means evaluating your specific situation to make the best choice. The industry is changing rapidly, and new robotic capabilities are blurring the lines between collaborative and industrial robots. Now, manufacturers must determine whether an industrial robot or cobot is best suited for the job.

Robots and cobots: The key differences

The simplest way to understand how cobots and industrial robots differ is that cobots are designed to work alongside human employees, while industrial robots do work in place of those employees. A cobot can assist employees with work that may be too dangerous, strenuous, or tedious for them to accomplish on their own, creating a safer, more efficient workplace without eliminating factory jobs involved in the actual fabrication of a product. By contrast, industrial robots are used to automate the manufacturing process almost entirely without human help on the manufacturing floor. This, in turn, frees up employees for more meaningful tasks that are less mundane and are less prone to repetitive motion injuries.

Cobots are also easily programmable as compared to industrial robots because of cobots “learning” capability on the job. A factory worker can re-program a cobot simply by moving the arm along the desired trajectory. From there, the cobot will “remember” the new movement and be able to repeat it on its own. Industrial robots cannot be so easily reprogrammed and require a programmer to write new code for any changes in the process to be implemented.

Industrial robots can handle heavier, larger materials like those used in automotive manufacturing, but also require safety cages to keep humans out of the workspace. However, cobots are designed to work in close proximity to humans, they are safe enough to function around people and do not require the same kinds of safety infrastructure industrial robots do (upon risk assessment).

Common Manufacturing Industry Misconceptions

Robots have a lot going for them in terms of reducing safety risks to employees, improving efficiency, and cutting overhead costs, but unfortunately, there are several misunderstandings about the best solution to incorporate robotics. For example, purchasers occasionally expect their cobots to replace low-skilled factory workers entirely or take on heavy manufacturing tasks best suited for an industrial robot. Cobots are specifically designed to work in conjunction with human workers and perform best as a minimally disruptive solution to safety concerns and efficiency inhibitors. Cobots have so much greater potential to revolutionise manufacturing when implemented correctly.

Another area that brings confusion is in regard to customisation options and costs. Cobots and industrial robots can both be customised, but due to their size and differences in capacity and application, one should not expect the cost or engineering required for both machines to be analogous. Some cobot brands have customisable pre-engineered designs that reduce the cost and time necessary for tailoring an automated solution to the application, however, some operations will inevitably benefit more from greater levels of customisation. Industrial robots are also available in both custom and standard models depending on the application, and these larger and more complex robots have a proportionate cost associated with them. Cost and the necessary engineering involved is entirely dependent on the needs of the customer, and being open to a wide array of solutions is the best approach to robotics.

Robotics is a considerable investment for businesses. There are arguments for both industrial robots and cobots. Although the truth is that there is a steady shift from robots to cobots, but both machines remain significant in different factory floors. Manufacturers need to understand the differences between both machines and select one based on their application needs. There is space on the market for both robots and cobots but the power lies in one’s requirement.

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OnRobot Launches Compact Gecko Gripper For Small-Footprint Applications

OnRobot Launches Compact Gecko Gripper For Small-Footprint Applications

OnRobot has launched a compact, single-pad version of its innovative Gecko no-mark adhesive gripper. The new Gecko Single Pad (SP) gripper brings the same capability to new automation applications with small footprints and lower payload. The Gecko SP is available in three sizes; SP1, SP3 and SP5 named after the gripper’s payload in kilos, featuring ability to lift a wide range of flat, smooth, shiny or perforated surfaces. Because the technology doesn’t mark even high-shine surfaces, it eliminates the need for a cleaning step in manufacturing processes, saving time and improving output. And like its larger sibling, the Gecko SP can grip even perforated workpieces such as printed circuit boards, aluminium mesh or head gaskets.

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The award-winning Gecko gripper technology uses millions of micro-scaled fibrillar stalks that adhere to a surface using powerful van der Waals forces — the same way that geckos climb. The technology requires no compressed air or external power, saving costs and maintenance, and can be implemented quickly and easily through OnRobot’s One-System Solution platform with little or no programming on any major collaborative or light industrial robot arm for greater production flexibility.

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“Our unique Gecko technology automates processes that no other gripper can accomplish, and now it’s available in a compact, flexible format that offers our customers even more options,” said Enrico Krog Iversen, CEO of OnRobot. “This is a true plug-and-play gripper that fulfills our promise of a full range of easy, cost-effective, flexible robotic tooling that lets customers focus on their application rather than the robot.”

 

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Collaborative Robotics Market Value To Reach $9.7 Billion By 2025

Collaborative Robotics Market Value To Reach $9.7 Billion By 2025

Tractica forecasts that the global collaborative robotics market will continue to grow rapidly over the next few years while providing opportunities to various industry participants, reaching revenue of $9.7 billion by the end of 2025.

As the implementation of smart factories surges forward, more companies are becoming aware of the growing importance of and uses for collaborative robots (known as cobots), according to a new report from Tractica. Still, a gap exists in understanding what these robots are as well as the implications for businesses.

 

 

Large company adoption of cobots is already occurring and benefits such as lower costs, increased safety, flexibility, and personnel efficiencies are the key driving factors for cobot demand in small and medium enterprises as well. More startups are entering the industry with new user-friendly cobot offerings, making the market increasingly competitive and diverse. Even with potential barriers such as high potential costs and significant planning, deployment, and training time, Tractica the global cobot market will continue to flourish.

“New opportunities are opening in the market as makers develop cobots with higher payload capacities and speed. The integration of cobots with the industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) opens new possibilities for the coordination of cobots doing smart manufacturing with the rest of the automation processes,” says senior analyst Glenn Sanders.

“Humanlike abilities of perception, object recognition, gripping and manipulating objects, and dual grippers present the potential to drive greater demand in the coming years.”

 

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Industrial Robotics Market Outlook

Industrial Robotics Market Outlook

The industrial robotics market was valued at US$18.05 billion in 2018 and is expected to reach US$37.75 billion by 2024, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12.15 percent over the forecast period (2019–2024), according to market analyst Mordor Intelligence. The market has been witnessing a huge demand over the past decade, owing to the rising adoption of smart factory systems, of which these robots play a vital part. The global smart factory market is expected to reach US$388.68 billion by 2024, which provides insights on the scope of the adoption of industrial robots for automation across end-user industries.

In particular, Industry 4.0, the newest industrial revolution, has fuelled the development of new technologies, like collaborative robots and AI-enabled robots, to name a few, and have enabled industries to use robots to streamline many processes, increase efficiency, and eliminate errors. Increased workplace safety and improved production capabilities have further driven industries to invest in robotic systems.

Rising Demand from Automotive Industry

The growing adoption of automation in the automotive manufacturing process and involvement of digitisation and AI are the primary factors driving the demand for industrial robots in the automotive sector.

In 2017, more than 170,000 robots took part in the production process in the European automotive industry. The growing presence of robots and automation in the European automotive industry is expected to fuel the market for industrial robots in the region.

Meanwhile, China has also become both the world’s largest car market and the world’s largest production site for cars, including electric cars, with much growth potential. In Malaysia, there are 27 automotive manufacturing and assembly plants. Overall, the growing automotive industry in Asia is also creating a massive opportunity for the global industrial robotics market.

 

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