The Story So Far: Looking Back at the Top Robotics Trends of 2020  

As a new year is upon us yet again, it’s important to take a moment to appreciate just how far we’ve come in the last 365 days. At the beginning of 2020, there were a number of “hot trends” that were anticipated to have a big effect on the robotics industry moving forward.

Of course, absolutely nobody would tell you that 2020 went according to plan.

So which trends played out as expected, which were missed opportunities and how did the industry do as a whole? Be sure to read on to find out.

Robotics and the 2020 Olympics: A Missed Opportunity

One trend that was predicted to make a major impact in 2020, unfortunately, did not quite come to pass. All the way back in January of 2020, the experts at Robotics Business Review indicated that the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo would be a major showcase of all of Japan’s latest efforts when it came to robotics, including innovative uses of self-driving vehicles, assistive solutions to help the country’s aging population and more.

Between using self-driving cars to shuffle people around and the use of both drones and counter-drones as part of the event’s enormous security detail, the 2020 Olympics were supposed to be a global showcase of just how far the industry has come and where it might be headed.

Of course, none of this ever happened because the Olympics were postponed at the onset of the global COVID-19 pandemic. But this postponement couldn’t stop the innovation still taking place in both Japan and around the world, so this is one trend that people will still be keeping a close eye on when the 2020 Summer Olympics take place (at least as of right now) beginning on Friday, July 23, 2021.

A New Era of Mobility in Manufacturing

Another major trend that made a big impact during 2020 had to do with the use of robotics to usher in a greater sense of mobility – particularly in the manufacturing space. Advancements in robotics and automation have had a striking effect on packaging automation, for example, where mobile solutions have been deployed to do everything from transport materials to load and unload machines.

But the major theme here is one of flexibility – the right robot systems, when used thoughtfully, can absolutely help speed up not only the way materials move across a factory floor, but the packaging process itself. Robots can travel across various packaging workstations and perform specific jobs at each one, generating a much-needed level of consistency and getting important work done in a fraction of the time it would normally take a human employee.

2020: A Banner Year For Robotics

All told, despite everything going on in the world 2020 was a record-breaking year for robotics in more ways than one. According to the World Robotics 2020 Report that was released at the end of September, more than 2.7 million industrial robots were operating in factories around the world – a significant increase of 12%, year over year. Even the sales of new robots remained high, with 373,000 units being shipped globally – a number that equates to the third highest volume of sales ever recorded.

Not surprisingly, Asia remains the strongest market in the world for industrial robots with their own newly installed units making up about two thirds of the global supply. But even the United States had over 293,000 units in operation, up 7% from just a year prior.

If you’d like to learn even more about all of the top robotics trends of 2020 and the major impact they had, or if you’d just like to discuss your own needs with someone in a bit more detail, please don’t delay – contact us today.

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