Hearken to this text
With annual income within the U.S. robotics market anticipated to grow at 5.62% (CAGR), leading to a market quantity of over $9 billion by 2027, John Bubnikovich, ABB US Robotics Division President, is making a number of predictions on key developments in robotics automation within the US for 2023 and past.
”The affect of U.S. labor shortages is more and more being felt by many companies as they battle to maintain tempo with buyer calls for, even with the potential for some softening within the US economic system within the short-term,” mentioned Bubnikovich. “This, mixed with international political uncertainty, fragile provide chains and rising materials prices, along with the rising development of reshoring and nearshoring of operations, means extra corporations are adopting robotic automation to maximise flexibility, construct resilience and adapt extra sustainable manufacturing processes.”
Pattern 1 – Demand for robots will improve in response to long-term labor shortages and a surge in re- and nearshoring
The affect of labor shortages is clearly felt throughout a variety of industries and can proceed effectively past 2023 because the impact of getting older populations and a reluctance to tackle low-paid, uninteresting, soiled and harmful jobs will increase. The Congressional Price range Workplace not too long ago forecast that the dimensions of the U.S. labor pressure will develop by simply 0.2% yearly from 2024 to 2031, and by 2030, it’s predicted that greater than 2.1 million US manufacturing jobs can be unfilled, in response to a examine by Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute. This can hamper financial development and current corporations with the necessity to discover new methods to plug gaps in workforces.
Demand for robots can be notably robust in nations the place corporations are planning to re- or near-shore their operations to assist enhance their provide chain stability within the face of worldwide uncertainty. In a survey of 1,610 corporations carried out by ABB Robotics in 2022, 70% of US companies mentioned they’re planning to re- or near-shore their operations, with 62% indicating they’d be investing in robotic automation within the subsequent three years.
“Whereas a lot of the mainstream consideration has centered on the affect of automation taking jobs, robots will more and more carry out the bodily worrying duties that individuals are reluctant to carry out, serving to to reasonable industrial and industrial labor shortages,” mentioned Bubnikovich. “The persevering with developments in ease of use and versatile efficiency of robots, together with the event of collaborative fashions with bigger payloads similar to ABB’s GoFa and SWIFTI cobots, imply corporations can tackle expertise gaps and make higher use of their present workforces.
“We will even see robots taking up duties in new sectors similar to meals processing and healthcare. For instance, ABB robots are in operation at a White Fort frozen hamburger plant in Louisville, Kentucky, the place a totally automated packaging system options three various kinds of robots dealing with three completely different features. And, on the College of Texas Medical Department (UTMB) in Houston, Texas, ABB robots are revolutionizing antibody analysis by automating the testing course of, growing the variety of assessments achieved per day from 15 to 1000. We are going to see robots taking up extra roles in related settings going ahead as labor shortages proceed to affect many companies,” mentioned Bubnikovich.
Pattern 2 – AI and autonomous expertise will make robots simpler to make use of, combine and entry – opening up further alternatives in new industries
The latest improvement of ABB’s Visible Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (Visible SLAM) expertise will improve the productiveness, flexibility and velocity of ABB’s vary of Autonomous Cellular Robots (AMRs). Utilizing AI-enabled 3D imaginative and prescient to carry out location and mapping features, Visible SLAM permits AMRs to make clever navigation choices primarily based on their environment. Options like these allow producers to maneuver away from conventional manufacturing traces in direction of built-in scalable, modular manufacturing cells whereas optimizing the supply of elements throughout amenities.
Ongoing developments in synthetic intelligence are powering autonomous greedy and positioning, which can develop the vary of duties robots can carry out. This higher use of AI in robotics helps with duties like selecting non-uniform objects, which is on distinguished show at a Burrtec Waste Industries materials restoration facility in Riverside, California. Right here, vision- and AI-enabled ABB delta robots scan supplies on a waste stream conveyor, selecting a wide range of contaminants from the road that the robotic has realized aren’t in a position to be recycled.
On the similar time, continued simplification of the software program and controllers used to program robots will additional scale back limitations to adoption by eradicating the necessity for specialist experience.
“Over the previous few years, the capabilities of Synthetic Intelligence within the robotics realm have improved considerably,” mentioned Bubnikovich. “Because the expertise continues to mature and grow to be much less advanced, enabling ease-of-use and a number of functions, robotics will penetrate segments past conventional manufacturing and distribution, similar to electronics, healthcare, e-commerce, prescribed drugs and meals service.”
Pattern 3 – Extra specialist partnerships between trade and educators will help a brand new period of automation
With extra corporations utilizing robots, there’s a rising want for staff to be taught new expertise that can allow them to thrive in an automatic setting. Reaching this may require a cooperative, multi-generational strategy, from faculties, schools, and universities by means of to SMEs and supporting associations to offer coaching.
“Companies sooner or later will want workers with expertise in making use of automation to carry out a wide range of processes,” mentioned Bubnikovich. “As robots grow to be extra prevalent in factories, warehouses and different environments, there can be a rise in partnerships between robotic OEMs, system integrators, producers, and educators to offer individuals with the required expertise for an automatic future. There are already greater than 150 examples of ABB partnerships with educators in the US, the place our robots, RobotStudio simulation and programming software program, and Augmented Actuality and Digital Actuality instruments are used to show college students of all ages the abilities wanted to program and use robotic automation.”
The longer term
“Disruption and uncertainty are driving new enterprise fashions, compelling corporations to assume otherwise about the way in which they function. Scalable, versatile and able to dealing with an increasing vary of duties, robots have gotten the brand new paradigm in making companies extra resilient in response to those exterior forces,” mentioned Bubnikovich.
“As this all unfolds, the profitable implementation of robotic automation would require a layer of certified human engagement to attain the very best outcomes. As new applied sciences proceed to make robots simpler to make use of and deploy, we see 2023 as a 12 months of alternative that can allow corporations and their workforces to succeed in new ranges of productiveness, effectivity and suppleness.”
ABB’s funding to help the way forward for robotics
ABB is supporting the anticipated robotics development in the US by investing over $22 million and creating extremely expert jobs in manufacturing, innovation and distribution operations.
Robotics-specific funding initiatives underway throughout the US embrace:
- Auburn Hills, Michigan: An growth of its North American robotics headquarters and manufacturing facility as extra prospects flip to automation to construct resilience whereas enhancing effectivity and suppleness as a part of the close to and reshoring of manufacturing. The $20 million funding will create 72 jobs and be accomplished by the top of 2023.
- Atlanta, Georgia: Opening of a packaging and logistics facility for end-to-end robotic automation options in warehouse and distribution, retail, and logistics industries. This $2 million funding will open in 2023 and create roughly 15 jobs.
- Houston, Texas: continued funding into ABB Robotics’ healthcare & life sciences hub on the Texas Medical Heart in Houston. The middle focuses on creating non-surgical medical Robotics programs which are used throughout the US and globally in collaboration with medical employees, scientists and engineers at a devoted facility on the Texas Medical Heart’s innovation campus.