For the longest time, the largest industrial robot adopter has been the automotive industry. However, shifting markets, innovations in industrial robotics have led to new non-traditional adopters that could be of great interest to those interested in automation.
The biggest trend in industrial robotics is the emergence of collaborative robots aimed at all types of consumers, with SMEs leading in adoption. Reduced costs and demand for automation has led to the expansion of industrial robotics manufacturing.
Almost all reports in the recent past regarding the global industrial robotics market points to dynamic growth and wider adoption. The price of a single industrial robot has dropped by over 40% in the last few years.
Who are these emerging industrial robot consumers driving the growth, and what does it mean for the industry? The following are 4 of the top emerging industrial robot adopters as captured from various industrial robot forums and market insights:
1. SME Machining Shops- Stand-Alone Industrial Robots
You’ve probably come across a few Kick starter or startups making new products from simple industrial setups. These SME and startup machining shops form the bulk of emerging industrial robot adopters today. According to the International Federation of Robotics, just over 2 million stand-alone industrial robots were deployed in 2017 alone.
These SME machining and welding shops don’t need complicated setups for their needs. Most of them require a single robot and tend to increase adoption as needs grow. This is in stark to traditional industrial robot adoption, where a manufacturer has to commit a lot of money and resources from the start.
Of course, existing and new industrial robot manufacturers have identified this emerging market and made industrial robots for this sector. Smaller, cheaper, and less complicated industrial robot arms and collaborative robots are the most popular in this sector.
2. E-Commerce Logistics
At this point, you might have seen a media report or two of Amazon’s ultra-modern e-commerce warehouses, otherwise known as fulfillment centers. Theirs is just one example of the modern industrial robot being used in E-commerce logistics. Behind this increased adoption is the need to shorten the time between a customer ordering an item to the time it leaves the warehouses.
E-commerce logistics is, by far, the most exciting and biggest emerging industrial consumer today and for the foreseeable future. Collaboratives robot arms are emerging as the most suitable form of automation in this with new robot manufacturers making a killing in sales.
3. Building and Construction
A deepening labor shortage in the construction industry has seen increased adoption of full or assistive industrial robots in some parts of the world. For the longest time, even the most complex or specialized construction jobs required a team of engineers, unlike other industries where such jobs would require fewer people.
The emergence of collaborative robots has made it possible to reduce the number ofskilled workers needed on a construction site. With a collaborative robot, a single engineer can now easily perform tasks that could have required more hands.
3D Printing and Point-Of-Sale Assembly
The adoption of industrial robotics in 3-D printing and point of sale assembly is one of the hottest trends in the industry. Equipped with modern SME robots, 3D printing shops can delegate most tasks to the robot,thus cutting labor costs while improving product quality and standardization. In most setups, the 3D printer is the robot itself or operated independently by a robot arm.
Point of sale assembly is another emerging industrial robot market closely tied to the 3D printing industry. Here, products are made as soon as the order has been placedas opposed to the traditional approach where products are made according to demand projections. Intelligent industrial robots that can react to demand dynamically are the main driving force behind this approach to product assembly.
There is a lot of promise for industrial automation going forward going by recent trends. With new adopters coming onboard and traditional ones increasing their uptake, it will be upon robot manufacturers to be more innovative.