Collaborative robots, also called co-bots for short, have uses in a vast array of different industries. In the automotive sector, for example, they’re used for everything from welding, assembly, painting and coating and more. But regardless of the application, their overall value is clear – they help organizations automate menial, time-consuming and potentially dangerous tasks so that workers are free to focus on tasks that are more suited for their attention.
Paying attention to where collaborative robots are headed in terms of technology and trends is also critical, particularly in terms of figuring out how they might play a role in your own environment.
The Current and Continued Impact of Collaborative Robots
By far, the biggest co-bot trend to be aware of as we head into 2022 has to do with the ongoing (and impressive) expansion of the market itself.
According to one recent study, 2022 will yield a massive 452,000 shipments of such collaborative robots – a 65% increase over just one year prior. Much of this has to do with the still-ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and safety measures that are in place in manufacturing environments across the globe. To put it in simple terms, it’s safer to have a human employee operate in a confined space with a robot than it is with another human – which is where a lot of this investment is coming from.
As those orders increase, it is also anticipated that we will see more versatility in the operating systems that allow those robots to function. Think about it within the terms of the early days of personal computing. At one point, if you bought a computer, you essentially only had one choice in terms of the operating system – DOS. Then came Microsoft’s Windows with its graphical user interface. OSX is what allowed Apple computers to work well. Eventually, Linux and others became available. The list goes on and on.
The same evolution is expected in terms of collaborative robots – customers will have more choice in terms of not just what they do, but how they’re able to do it. That level of choice can only help but lead to further innovation moving forward.
In the end, collaborative robots have certainly come a long way since they were first developed by engineers in the late 1990s. Their essential function has not changed – they still play an important role in industrial automation and Industry 4.0. It’s just that given how much advancement we’ve seen in even the last few years, it’s truly exciting to think about what the next few may have in store for us all.
If you’d like to find out more information about all of the biggest collaborative robot trends to be aware of as we move further into the new year, or if you’d just like to speak to someone about your own needs in a bit more detail, please don’t hesitate to contact Pioneer Industrial Systems today.