Six Industries Expected to Thrive Thanks to Robotics
Over the next five years, robotics and automation are expected to account for 25% of all capital spending in industries around the globe, according to results from the 2022 McKinsey Global Industrial Robotics Survey. The reason? Executives in various industrial sectors understand the financial benefits and competitive edge to be gained by automating processes with robots. But which industries could see the biggest boost? This blog highlights six sectors that are expected to thrive thanks to automation and robotics.
The Benefits of Robotics
In most cases the greatest benefit of robotic automation will be increased efficiency. As robots can perform and streamline the functions of human workers with greater speeds, precision and accuracy and can operate 24/7, bottlenecks are decreased and uptime is increased, which means facilities that employ robotics find they often exceed previous production, throughput and capacity levels.
In addition, because robots are programmed to consistently and reliably perform an operation, the end result will be the same over every batch or run, which enhances quality of the finished product, ensures customer satisfaction and reduces scrap and waste.
Further, relying on robots to perform dangerous or repetitive tasks or serve in hazardous locations creates a safer work environment and reduces workplace injuries.
The improved uptime, efficiency, product quality and safety accumulate to provide users of robotic automation with decreased operating costs, as well as a competitive advantage in their market.
6 Industries That Benefit the Most from Robotics
The use of robotic automation has resulted in workplaces where efficiency, throughput and quality are improved and workers are safer and permitted to focus on less redundant tasks. As robotic technologies continue to advance and their use continues to grow, these six industries are expected to thrive as they pursue more robotic automation.
|As the source of the world’s dairy, meat, grains and produce, the agricultural community had been hesitant to use automated equipment for handling crops or animals because it was likely to damage soft agricultural products; however, technological advances in today’s robots allow new agricultural applications. For example, many of today’s robotic grippers are delicate enough for picking fruits and vegetables and collecting eggs without damage. Robots and other automated equipment can be used to survey crops, identify and collect eggs, harvest crops or produce and assist with milking, freeing farmers from the responsibility of time-consuming and heavily manual tasks.
|The manufacturing sector is being hit hard by shortages of skilled labor and tight operating budgets, but an increase in demand for manufactured products means they need to increase efficiency and throughput. Automation and robotics can be used to boost capacity despite a limited number of workers, while allowing manufacturers to reduce costs associated with downtime, scrap and waste. In addition, technological advances allow automated robots to perform more nuanced tasks such as assembly and pick and place of delicate, small or sensitive products that previously required more dexterity than earlier robot iterations could provide.
|Healthcare and Medical
|Food Processing and Food Packaging
|As people live longer due to advances in medical treatments, the healthcare industry often finds itself short staffed and short on time, which means that the industry is ripe for technologies that allow procedures to be performed easier and faster, but with high levels of accuracy. Advances in robotics allow surgeries and other procedures to be performed with more precision than ever before and without human error or fatigue.
Medical equipment such as exam tables and X-ray and imaging machines, as well as smaller medical devices, also benefit from advances in automation that allow them to easily be moved into more positions, allowing staff to comfortably operate them and patients to benefit from improved results.
|Like the manufacturing sector, the food processing and food packaging industries are currently experiencing shortages of skilled labor, smaller budgets, increased competition and growing demand for products. Thankfully, many applications can be automated during the processing of food. Typical applications for robots include cleaning and categorizing food products into containers; cutting, slicing and dicing fruits, vegetables and meats; and dispensing prepared or frozen meals, meats, baked goods, beverages, dairy products or other items into trays. In addition, robots and cobots equipped with machine vision can be used to inspect foods and discard items that don’t meet quality standards.
Food packaging and pick-and-place of packaged or unpackaged food items are the segments of the food industry in which automated equipment and robots are most widely used as they offer an efficient way to move product through the facility. Pick-and-place robots can be used to move food products from one place to another and can lift food products from a moving assembly line. Pick-and-place robots can be used to pack finished food products into cases and palletizing robots can stack the cases onto pallets.
|While the automotive industry has been using robots for years, older models typically performed just one specific task and tended to be enormous machines that moved at extremely high speeds, creating safety risks, so earlier iterations of robots were located in cages away from busy areas on the factory floor. However, advances in robots and collaborative robots have allowed safer use around human workers, as well as the ability to easily reprogram robots and to provide flexibility. In addition, machine vision and other technologies allow for more precision during assembly and improved quality inspections. Modern automation allows auto manufacturers to increase efficiency, while also providing higher quality parts and components and more customization in a safer manner than was previously possible.
|In the assembly of electronics and electronic devices, today’s robotic technologies, especially those that include machine vision, permit precise placement and assembly of delicate components, as well as soldering on circuit boards, sorting and visual inspections. Often, electronics manufacturing requires a pure environment, so the use of robotics helps keep contamination to a minimum as there is less human contact with sensitive components. The increased speed, accuracy and precision will boost product quality and efficiency throughout the electronics manufacturing process.
With so many applications and across-the-board financial benefits, it’s no wonder industries around the world are embracing robotics in order to remain competitive. If you’d like to learn how modern robots can help your business thrive, please contact JHFOSTER.