The Global Collaborative Robot Market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 21.6% over the forecast period.
- Industrial robots used in the automotive industry are more efficient and utilized cost-effectively, owing to their new speed, accuracy, precision, flexibility, and agility levels. The complexity of manufacturing passenger cars has increased over the past ten years. This has led to automation solutions robots' usage for a substantial proportion of the production processes.
- Machine learning (ML) has made significant advancements wherein the software systems can recognize subtle and complex patterns in data. Besides, the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and its burgeoning applications is anticipated to enable one robot to learn from another.
- Though these robots are developing rapidly, some challenges prevent them from being applied to multiple manufacturing units. The most crucial challenge is the need for fine skills, such as picking up small and delicate objects and making rapid decisions to avoid obstacles without stopping production.
- The collaborative robots in the market are also becoming more affordable, easier to use, and less complex for training purposes. This will primarily offer multiple options to organizations, increasing the drive and the demand for these robots. Collaborative robots enable industries of all sizes and scales to stay competitive as these robots use the latest sensors, plug-and-play technologies, and automatic robot programming from CAD data.
- Companies are adopting these robots to increase efficiency in their process. For instance, Tomenson Machine Works adopted automation for its pin stamping application primarily to improve profitability, quality, and worker satisfaction. The company adopted an OnRobot RG6 gripper and Universal Robots UR3 cobot arm, which can handle dozens of part sizes and is being used for potential applications such as deburring, machine tending, and packaging.
- As the world is continuously fighting the rapid spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, robotics and automation are playing a very crucial role in helping to safeguard the people and in processing the supplies that people need as they are shifting towards remote working and home learning. The robots help disinfect hospitals. Autonomous deliveries from the robots bring the supplies to people as they adopt social distancing. Moreover, automated workstations are speeding up the work of pharmaceutical companies.
- The costs of robotic systems are associated with robust hardware and efficient software. Automation equipment involves using advanced automation technologies that require high capital investment. For instance, the price of da Vinci, a surgical robot that costs around USD 1.5 million, includes replacing parts that cost around USD 1,900 per operation. Therefore, the high maintenance cost of these robots is expected to challenge their adoption.
Key Market Trends
Automotive Segment will Drive the Market
- The automotive sector is witnessing significant growth in the number of units produced per day. The machinery on the production floor requires proper maintenance to shorten production cycles and increase production output. Cobots can easily achieve lower direct unit production costs. Moreover, the throughput can be higher depending on the assembly process than in traditional robotic systems. These kinds of cobots are used in the automotive industry, which can be applied to auto part manufacturing (assembling major vehicle parts) and finished vehicle assembly.
- For instance, in 2021, according to OICA, China was the leading market for motor vehicle production, with more than 26 million cars and commercial vehicles produced. This figure was even more than the sum of the production values of the other countries. So utilizing these robots can shorten production cycles and increase production output.
- Collaborated robotics used for automotive applications are experiencing a massive upsurge in recent times owing to the proliferation of automotive plants in eminent Asian nations, including China, India, and Vietnam, and growing demand for automotive robotics from automakers in North America. Various prominent automakers, including BMW, Mercedes Benz, and Ford, have been deploying cobots on their production floors to carry out myriad functions such as welding, car painting, and assembly line activities.
- In April 2021, Universal Robots (UR), a Danish manufacturer of smaller flexible industrial collaborative robot arms, urged Malaysian automotive manufacturers to explore new opportunities to use robotic solutions, such as collaborative robots (cobots) in automotive manufacturing facilities. This came up after the Malaysian Automotive, Robotics, and IoT Institute (MARii) stated that it is expecting the automotive industry, including Mobility as a Service (MaaS), to contribute up to 10% of gross domestic product (GDP).
- In recent years, YASKAWA Electric Corporation began the sale of the MOTOMAN-HC20DT anti-dust and drip-proof function as a new line of COBOT. Its main application is the transportation and assembly of automotive and machinery-related parts. It also improved usability due to direct attach tools, such as a robot hand, by mounting a connector for hands at the tip of the arm.
- The automotive industry has invested billions in developing edge computing technology. According to Ericsson's projections, the global number of connected vehicles may grow to around 700 million by 2025. The data volume transmitted between vehicles and the cloud may be about 100 petabytes per month. A global director of manufacturing engineering integration at a major automotive OEM quoted that cobots have become a "fundamental game changer" on the automotive factory floor.
North America to Register Significant Growth
- The North American region is among the leading innovators and pioneers in the adoption of robotics and is one of the largest markets. The primary reason for the market's growth is the increasing adoption of these collaborative robots across numerous industries.
- Moreover, robotic surgery has been significantly adopted in the United States. The annual procedure volume for robotic surgery is greater than 5,00,000 in the United States. In order to build brand image and competitive advantage, robotic surgery has become the most rapidly adopted medical device over the past two decades. This is likely to fuel the need for robots in the medical and healthcare sector in the region.
- The primary driver for the growth of collaborative robots in the region is the manufacturing industries in the United States that are currently under the ongoing trend to automate their production processes to strengthen the US industries in domestic and international markets.
- The government in the region is also encouraging the adoption of robotics by taking initiatives to support the development of modern technologies in the robotics market. For instance, the US Federal Government has commenced a program called the National Robotics Initiative (NRI) to bolster the capabilities of building domestic robots in the country and encourage research activities in the field.
- The increasing investments by the National Science Foundation (NSF) are also augmenting the collaborative robot market in the region. The NSF invested USD 700,000 to USD 1 million to support novel technologies like robotics in 21 projects in three-year durations. The NSF program proliferates collaborations with industries to assess lab-created technologies.
The collaborative robot market is moderately competitive, and companies focus on innovation to remain competitive in the market. Furthermore, acquisitions and collaboration of large companies with startups are expected.
- October 2021 - OMRON Corporation announced a capital investment agreement with Techman Robot, Inc, a prominent collaborative robot brand that works at manufacturing sites. OMRON will have an approximately 10% stake in Techman.
- September 2021 - The enhanced payload capabilities of Universal Robots' UR10e, combined with its longer reach, position it for increased packaging and machine tending applications, whereas the UR5e can automate box erection. The UR10e from Universal Robots can now lift 12.5kg (27.55lbs), a 25% increase over the previous generation. In addition to being Universal Robots' longest-reaching cobot, this payload upgrades for the UR10e better position it for palletizing, machine tending, and packaging applications. The UR10e now has a 2.5kg gripper and can be used in palletizing applications with cartons weighing up to 10kg.
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