Collaborative robots, or cobots, currently account for three per cent of the total robotics market, but this figure is expected to reach 34 per cent by 2025. These machines have been marketed as easy to program, but despite this, they should not be considered as a total alternative to traditional industrial robots.
While cobots do boast some impressive responsive features, these machines generally cannot tackle the dangerous, repetitive and heavy-duty tasks usually associated with industrial robots — and respondents to the Global Robotics Report agree. 55 per cent do not believe that cobot technology is advanced enough to deliver the performance require for manufacturing, and a further 25 per cent are unsure of their capabilities.
“There is no one-size-fits-all solution for automating a facility,” explained Peter Williamson, manging director of RARUK Automation, the UK distributor for TM Robotics. “The growth in the cobot market represents cobots as an ideal first step towards automation, but there’s more than one route to deploying robotics in a facility.
“At RARUK Automation, we have developed a varied range of automation technologies, including Toshiba Machine’s range of industrial robots. This ensures we can deliver the right kind of automation to our customers, dependant on the application.”
Unlike the first Industrial Revolution, today’s manufacturing industry is fiercely competitive. Not only are nations contending to increase the volume of robots they deploy in their facilities, but new types of robotic technologies are emerging to take on new tasks and operations.
The IFR predicts that the industry will experience a further boom this year, with an estimated 2.6 million robot units set to be deployed. There’s no denying that Asia is currently dominating the robotics market, but with such rapid changes happening in a relatively short period of time, there’s scope for other nations to catch up.