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FREMONT, CA: According to a study, the market for industrial robotics has increased by double digits each year since 2012 and will continue this growth at least through 2021. Primary drivers include a desire to improve quality and increase productivity while decreasing costs, as well as to increase safety for employees while responding to a lack of available skilled workers. The decrease in prices and improvement in the capabilities of industrial robots have a positive effect as well. Here are the top three trends to watch in 2020 and beyond.
Also called cobots, collaborative robots are designed to work safely alongside human workers eliminating the need for safety barriers. Traditionally these robots are designed with advanced sensors and software that allow them to detect and adapt to any human intrusion into their workspace, which will enable cobots to avoid their human coworkers by stopping their motion automatically if necessary. Collaborative robots are utilized for monotonous, tedious, or repetitive duties, leaving employees available for more value-added tasks.
It’s been just over two decades since “Industrial Internet of Things” has been discussed. In those two decades, IIoT has become firmly established and is still rapidly expanding. Now the declining cost of sensor technology that connects robotics and machinery to analytics software is helping to drive an expanded integration of technology. More connectivity tends to increase production line precision, flexibility, and efficiency through machine visibility, data analytics, and better predictive maintenance.
Manufacturers can shift to a higher level of understanding of their production and supply chain as more robotics in the factory floor is connected via sensors. This more in-depth understanding of the value chain helps maintain a competitive edge in a global market through the power of lean initiatives, downtime reduction, and an investment in equipment efficiency.
While early adopters of Industry 4.0 have seen significant increases in productivity combined with as much as a 30% decrease in maintenance costs, not everyone is yet on board with Industry 4.0 adoption. In fact, according to a study, the manufacturing industry is significantly behind sectors like healthcare, financial, and retail in the number of businesses implementing a robust digital transformation strategy.