Collaborative robots, as the term suggests, are those that are designed to work alongside human employees in some capacity. In a lot of ways, they’re the next logical extension of industrial automation. If you can program a task to be performed consistently and accurately 100% of the time, that’s an opportunity you would willfully take advantage of. More than that, if you could do so in a way that also freed up the valuable time of employees, you would leap at that chance as well.
Based on that, it should come as no surprise that the market for service-based collaborative robots is absolutely booming – thanks in large part to the ever-changing needs of Industry 4.0 companies.
Why Industry 4.0 Matters
Also called the Fourth Industrial Revolution by some, Industry 4.0 describes the inclusion of technology at virtually all points of our global industrial infrastructure.
Think about it like this: if you have a critical piece of machinery on a factory floor that suddenly goes offline, that could potentially grind productivity to a halt. But what if that machine had a sensor embedded inside that let you know when certain small issues were occurring, all so that you could stop them before they became much bigger ones later on? What if that sensor also told you exactly when the right time would be to perform that maintenance to avoid disruption as much as possible?
That’s why Industry 4.0 and data sharing matters.
Robotics automation takes this one step further by not just alerting people to something like a maintenance situation, but essentially handling the problem on its own. That way, human employees are free to keep working and robotics resources continue to generate the consistent, accurate results that organizations can depend on.
Of course, this is just one example of the impact that robotics will play on Industry 4.0. Right now, there are collaborative robots (also called co-bots) that are cleaning floors in factories to create safer environments for workers. They’re gathering items from the shelves in a warehouse to pick for orders being shipped out on eCommerce websites like Amazon. The list goes on and on.
According to one recent study, the market for these robots is anticipated to expand by an enormous 47% per year over the next decade. The orders for co-bots alone – which amounted to about 15,000 units in 2019, is expected to grow to an incredible 171,000 units by as soon as 2025. Yes, given the sheer volume of important (and often proprietary) data that will be shared among them, they present certain concerns in terms of security in particular. But when you consider the implications and the benefit to productivity they usher in, it’s easy to see why they’re worth that risk.
To get additional information into the important role that automation and robotics will play in the continued advancement of Industry 4.0, or to speak to someone about your own situation in a bit more detail, please don’t hesitate to contact Pioneer Industrial Systems today.