Electronic Robotics: How will they impact the future of manufacturing?

Image used for Illustration purpose

Image used for Illustration purpose

Universal Roberts / Handout via Zawya

In the era of robotization and automation, the way humans work with robots is becoming more crucial than ever. What began as a mere design to assist humans in lifting and carrying heavy equipment has now evolved into a more advanced machine, which is capable of learning, thinking, and even performing innumerable activities without the help of a human.

Looking at the pace of the advancements in electronic robotics and industrial ‘cobots’ (or Collaborative Robots), it isn’t wrong to say that they will not just be the future but also impact global industries (in a positive way).

Here are some key stats that give you a better viewpoint on how much these modern technologies can change the way our lives and industries operate:

● According to research conducted by Loup Ventures, the market for industrial robotics is anticipated to grow by 175% in the next 10 years.

● According to IMARC, the Global Robotics Market will hit 37 Million Units by the year 2025, which will increase utilization in different industries.

Flexible packaging reported that more than 31,000 robotic units were ordered by different organizations in North America during 2020. The purchases not only gave an additional income of $1.5 billion but also the 9972 unit sales ( in Q4 alone) contributed to $480 million in the same location. Interesting, this happened amidst the pandemic, showing an unstoppable and growing interest in the products.

Across the wide range of smart tech, it is apparent that everything from cars and computers to MedTech and heavy machinery are becoming more evolved, advanced, and intelligent. With new AI algorithms in place, the technology around us is adjusting constantly to our behaviors and needs to serve humans in the best way possible.

Speaking of technology assistance, industrial ‘cobots’ are the most talked about. Designed to collaborate along with humans, cobots are safe, intelligent, and will become a primary part of the industry 4.0.

Let’s understand about them in detail and their future market.

What are Cobots?

Cobots (or Collaborative Robots) are robots which can collaborate with humans to enhance a human’s abilities but in a very safe way.

Imagine robotics deployments where there aren’t any human-robot collaborations and robots are supposed to typically operate independently from humans, often residing in a separate cage. In these scenarios, they can even be programmed in a way to stop when humans enter the facility where these robots operate.

Considering human safety, this is great but also calls for a downside. It leads to unnecessary delays in the production or operation. Now, this is exactly where the role of ‘cobots’ comes into the picture.

Cobots are capable of supervising an environment, despite co-existing with humans in the same facility, without sacrificing on safety or performance.

The Impact of Collaborative Robots Deployment

A cobot will offer the highest value in conditions where humans will need to be in close proximity with the robots. Now, this includes human-robot participation where humans guide the robots, monitor the entire process, and even learn from robots.

One of the vital characteristics of Collaborative Robots will be the quality of service, which varies over time as well as context—say, for instance, smart manufacturing.

In addition, it's worth calling out that a cobot in a work facility without any humans won’t need as much attention as cobots in close proximity to humans. Hence, the need for enhanced signaling, higher bandwidth, lower latency, and faster decision-making capabilities with the help of efficient computing is a lot higher for cobots in safety-critical environments.

Deployment of cobots calls for:

  • Reliability
  • Trust
  • Safety

Once technology becomes reliable and dependable, it also becomes well-known. Cobots also help in decision-making in real-time. The development for industrial cobots is ongoing in different areas. Quicker reaction time, precise movement patterns, enhanced orientation capabilities, and abilities to imitate humans—all these factors contribute to the advancements of cobot development.

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