Tuesday, June 18

More Industries Using More Robots: What Experts Say About the Next Decade’s Manufacturing

Robotics have been a staple of the automotive industry for some time, but a new report has found that automation is moving into other sectors of the economy, as well.

In countries with the highest use of robotics — Japan, Germany and the United States — the International Federation of Robotics reports that the density of robots in the automotive sector is seven times that in all other industrial areas.

Japanese automakers use about 1,520 industrial robots for every 10,000 of their human employees, leading the way in the industry. Other industries in Japan, Germany and the U.S. use only around 214 robots per 10,000 workers — but that number is slowly climbing.

The newest industrial robots are poised to enter other, undeveloped parts of the manufacturing industry. The International Federation of Robotics notes this shift happens as the robots become easier to work with.

“It’s possible through new solutions such as interfaces, control units and software allowing diverse tasks to be automated even by people without any experience in robotics,” said Manfred Gundel, an IFR board member. “This opens up new potential applications for medium-sized companies in diverse industries.”

The industry has also seen an increase in lightweight robotics, which allow employees to work alongside the machines without any extreme safety measures needed.

Machine tool manufacturers, who are often responsible for creating the parts for these robots, could expect to see greater revenues as industrial companies order more clamping systems, cutting and boring tools, and other parts.

For now, however, automotive manufacturers still rule the robotics world.

An analysis by business reporting agency Visiongain shows that the period between 2014 and 2024 will see new challenges for the automotive industry, including stricter requirements for emissions, energy-efficiency, and eco-friendliness with their operations.

However, Visiongain predicts that automation and robotics could help these manufacturers help the auto industry meet these goals. Currently, robot sales in automotive plants have increased from 19,300 in 2009 to 69,400 in 2013, with a projected value of $13.66 billion for the year of 2014.

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