HSD milling courtesy International Federation of RoboticsClick image to enlarge

The operational stock of industrial robots hit a new record of about 3 million units worldwide in 2021 – increasing by 13% on average each year from 2015 to 2020.

Transformation for robotic automation is picking up speed across traditional and new industries and more companies grasp the advantages robotics provides for their businesses,” says Milton Guerry, President of the International Federation of Robotics.

What’s the future outlook for robotics? The International Federation of Robotics analyzes the top 5 trends shaping robotics and automation around the globe.

1 - Robots adopted by new industries

Segments that are relatively new to automation are rapidly adopting robots. Consumer behavior is driving companies to address demand for personalization of both products and delivery.

The e-commerce revolution was driven by the pandemic and will continue to accelerate in 2022. There are thousands of robots installed worldwide today that did not exist in this segment just five years ago.

In an effort to address labor shortages, companies that have not previously considered automation will reconsider. Businesses that rely on service workers, such as retail and restaurants, are unable to fill job openings, and as a result, we can expect to see them invest in automation to meet patrons’ needs. Relatively new robotics customer industries like delivery and logistics, construction, agriculture and many more benefit from technologies advancing by the day.

2 - Robots easier to use

Implementing robots can be a complex task, but new generations of robots are easier to use. There is a clear trend towards user interfaces that allow simple icon-driven programming and the manual guidance of robots. Robot companies and some 3rd party suppliers are bundling hardware packages together with software to ease implementation. This trend may seem simple, but offerings that focus on complete ecosystems are adding tremendous value by reducing the effort and the time to operation.

The trend for low-cost robotics also comes with easy setup and installation, with specific applications pre-configured in some instances. Suppliers offer standard programs combined with grippers, sensors, and controllers. App stores provide program routines for various applications and support lower-cost robot deployment.

3 - Robots and Humans up-skilling

More and more governments, industry associations, and companies are seeing the need for basic robot and automation education at an early stage for the next generation. The journey of data-driven production lines will focus on education and training. In addition to the training of workers in-house, external education routes can enhance staff learning programs. Robot manufacturers like ABB, FANUC, KUKA, and YASKAWA all register between 10,000 and 30,000 participants in their robot classes across more than 30 countries every year.

Robotics is changing job profiles of factory workers for the better. As the recent “Great Resignation” shows, people want to work in a modern environment where they can build a career. New training opportunities with robotics are a win-win strategy for companies and employees alike: Dull, dirty, and dangerous tasks get automated while people learn key skills for the industrial workplace of the future and increase their earning potential throughout their careers.

4 - Robots secure production

Trade tensions and COVID-19 are driving manufacturing back closer to the customer. Supply-chain issues lead companies to consider nearshoring with automation as a solution.

One particularly revealing statistic from the US shows how automation is helping businesses get back to business: According to the Association for Advancing Automation (A3), robot orders in the United States in the third quarter of 2021 were up 35% over the same period in 2020. More than half of the orders are from non-automotive sectors.

And this record growth isn’t just robotics either—machine vision, motion control, and motors are also seeing big increases. “The pandemic and the resulting disruptions to supply chains and labor availability appear to have been the push that many needed to justify the investment,” says Dr. Susanne Bieller, General Secretary of the IFR. “The companies most likely to invest in automation are those that have been considering it for a while but just hadn’t taken the final step.”

5 - Robots support digital automation

In 2022 and beyond, we see an emphasis on data as key enablers of future manufacturing. Data collected from intelligently automated processes will be analyzed by producers to make more informed decisions. With a robot’s ability to share tasks and learn through AI, companies can also adopt intelligent automation more easily in new environments, from construction to food and beverage packaging facilities to healthcare labs.

AI for robotics is maturing and learning robots are becoming mainstream. The industry is past the pilot phase, and we can expect to see a larger deployment of these technologies in 2022. 

Manufacturing growth holds in July: prices rise at record pace

The IHS Markit Canada Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for July shows output levels rising at the fastest pace since March of last year.

Mining and energy spending boosts foreign investment in Canada

Foreign mining and energy companies registered the highest spending in Canada in almost two years, driving a significant increase in foreign direct investment in the country.

EuroBLECH 2021 postponed until Autumn 2022

EuroBLECH, the world’s largest sheet metal technology exhibition, has been canceled. The event was scheduled for March 2021 at the Hanover Exhibition Grounds in Germany.

The Trump/Trudeau meeting: Canada, US to work together on economic growth

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and US President Donald Trump emerged from their first official meeting affirming their longstanding relationship and their agreement to continue to cooperate to ensure ongoing economic growth of the North American continent.

Chrysler Canada July sales highest in history

Chysler Canada is having a good run: July marked the 56th consecuative month of year-over-year sales growth with July sales of 28,007 hitting the highest July sales in the company's history.

North America auto sector rethinks the future

As the North American automotive manufacturing industry continues to face disruptions that threaten the health of the sector, OEMS and suppliers in Canada and the US are rethinking automotive manufacturing for the future. 

Manufacturing accelerates at fastest pace in seven months

In September, Canadian manufacturing activity expanded at the fastest pace in seven months as new orders and production picked up.

Memex, Caron Engineering partner on machine connectivity

Caron Engineeering and Canadian firm Memex Automation, Burlington, ON, have signed a joint technology and marketing agreement for Memex's real-time machine connectivity and Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) metrics. 

Ag tractor sales continue growth streak into 2022

Job shops serving the North American agricultural machinery sectors have good reason to rejoice after the release of the latest sales figures.

Trade gap hits 17-month low

Canada’s trade gap narrowed in June to its lowest level in 17 months.

Canada's economic plan offers some manufacturing support

Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME) welcomes the $100 billion federal stimulus package aimed at creating one million jobs over the next three years.

Innovate Canada 2023 in Waterloo to showcase advanced manufacturing

Ontario’s Waterloo Region has been awarded Innovate Canada 2023, a business event that will spotlight ground-breaking work taking place across Canada’s manufacturing innovation sectors.

Hypertherm suspends business in Russia

Hypertherm, a U.S. based manufacturer of industrial cutting systems and software, is suspending business in Russia.

Index launches iXacademy online training platform

Index has launched iXacademy, an online platform designed to provide manufacturers with training on a wide variety of topics in a flexible and convenient format.

GF Machining announces new president of North America

GF Machining Solutions has appointed Chris Jones as the company’s president and managing director of North America.

Stay In Touch

twitter facebook linkedIn