Robot Trends to Look for in 2021
As 2020 draws to a close, there are many robot trends to look for in 2021. Some of these trends will carry over from the past year into the new one, such as the use of collaborative robots. Other trends will likely focus on the expansion of robotic automation with industries and application capabilities. In the coming year we are likely to see more universal robots automating production lines.
Return to Rapid Growth for the Robotic Market
While 2020 was originally predicted to be a big year for the industrial robot market, the COVID-19 pandemic diminished those expectations. The worldwide shutdowns in the manufacturing sectors initially caused a slowdown in the robot market. However, one of the lasting impacts of the pandemic is the acceleration of robotic automation. In the second half of 2020 many manufacturers began automating with robots to survive COVID-19. An increasing number of manufacturers are deploying FANUC Arcmate 120ic to combat the negative impacts of the pandemic. This trend is expected to increase as we move into 2021 and lead to rapid growth of the industrial robot market. The pandemic has caused many companies to see the importance of sustainable manufacturing. Switching from manual processes to automated ones with articulated robots like the Motoman MA1400 will accelerate the robot market in 2021.
Continued Expansion of Cobots
Collaborative robots were one of the biggest trends in 2020 and this trend is expected to continue throughout 2021. As more manufacturers turn to robotic automation, cobots provide an affordable, user-friendly alternative to traditional industrial robots. Cobots are excellent for small manufacturers or those who are new to robotics. The FANUC C-7ia can work safely alongside humans, assisting them with production related tasks. Cobots increased productivity, quality, and the efficiency of manufacturing operations.
Growth of Robotic Automation in the Electronics Industry
For decades the automotive industry has been the largest user of industrial robots, but this may change in 2021 as more electronic manufacturers are expected to automate with robots. Electronic devices have become more sophisticated, smaller, and delicate making them more complex to assemble. Components are tiny and fragile, making human handling nearly impossible. Advancements in gripper and robot technology has expanded robot automation into the electronic sector. In 2021 we will see more six axis robots like the FANUC Lr Mate 200id assembling electronic devices.
Increased Vision System Integration
Robotic vision systems have been around for some time, but in 2021 there will be an increased use of them with robots. As more manufacturers automate and applications become more complex, there will be an increased demand for vision system integration. Vision systems enhance the accuracy, functionality, and autonomy of industrial robots. Vision systems allow robots to automate tasks that were once only reserved for humans. The FANUC M-2ia can be used to detect different materials on a conveyor in recycling operations.
Advancements of Robot Capabilities Through AI
Artificial intelligence seems to be everywhere these days, from smart phones, computer software, and even industrial robots. The use of AI with robots is expected to advance robot capabilities in 2021. With AI robots will be more intelligent allowing them to complete new applications, automatically adapt to different work environments, self-identify mechanical issues, and even communicate with other robots to teach one another tasks.
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