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The past few years have seen many organizations implement technology-driven changes at a rapid pace. As society becomes more digital, embracing technology and managing new processes effectively is key to the success of almost every business.
With rapid workplace transformation evident across industries, be it the transition to hybrid work or the adoption of new technologies, what can we expect from 2023? Here are five predictions for the coming year.
1. Turnkey solutions will make automation easier than ever
In recent years we have witnessed the development of various kinds of cutting edge technologies. Advances in robotics, machine learning, and other technologies have led to an increase The frequency of this change is tenfold. While these promise to change or revolutionize the business world, all tech companies suffer from the same problem – they can’t be good at everything.
In the world of robotics, this is no different. Creating an automated system requires hardware development, software development, application development, sensors, and interfaces to name a few. That is why 2023 will be the year of turnkey solutions.
Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) — companies that create new applications and products around existing technologies — will lie at the heart of this. They are able to drive innovation by combining technologies to deliver complete solutions for the most common applications, such as welding and mobility. Results? Automation will become more sophisticated yet more user-friendly than ever before.
possible bots, an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) based in Denmark, is a great example of how this can work. Since 2016, the company has been working to combine two types of state-of-the-art technology by means of compounding Collaborative robot arms (cobots) on Autonomous mobile robots (AMRS). This hybrid technology is now working in industry, warehouse management, production, and delivering robotics for in-hospital service and supply applications.
Ultimately, these off-the-shelf solutions make it easier for companies to integrate critical technologies and there is no end to the innovative ways companies will find to bring robots alongside humans into the world of work.
2. Manufacturers will move towards standardized production
Traditional industrial robots remain important in some parts of manufacturing, but we are seeing a trend towards the deployment of more flexible production models. This is largely due to the fact that traditional industrial robots are usually large, static, and require complex deployment.
In contrast, cobots can perform a similar range of activities to traditional industrial robots but are smaller, lighter, and much easier to use. They are designed to work alongside humans, so they pose fewer safety risks and are better suited to environments that require flexibility and adaptability. Furthermore, it is more cost effective for companies looking to deploy automation – a key consideration as we move into 2023.
The COBOT industry is expected to grow to US$2.2 billion by 2026 (Collaborative Robot Market Report 2022, Interaction Analysis). As cobots continue to change the way work is done in applications such as packaging, palletizing, welding and assembly, in 2023 we’ll see even larger companies switch to lightweight cobots for a modular increase in their output. The robot’s weight and versatility will be key specifications for those looking for new automation solutions and we’ll see more reconfigurable robotic work cells than ever before.
3. Higher payload and longer length will change the landscape for some applications
As more companies move toward cobot automation, many will still want to handle the heavy lifting. The good news is that we’ve recently seen the introduction of many higher payload weights that reach longer. In 2023, these changes will continue to transform parts of the manufacturing industry, and improve the working lives of many employees.
this year, global robots introduced a new cobot, UR20, which are engineered for increased payloads, high speeds, and superior motion control, all within a small footprint and lightweight system. A load capacity of 20kg will transform industries such as palletizing while 1750mm is eagerly anticipated for use in welding. Manufacturers looking for that extra flexibility will find the robot is light enough to be disassembled and moved, or attached to a heavy base with wheels. This will create new possibilities for applications and lead to innovation in all areas. The UR20 will be delivered to customers in 2023.
4. Despite global uncertainty, long-term increases in industrial robot installations will continue
The latest IFR World Robotics report showed that installation of industrial robots reached an all-time high in 2021 31% over the previous year. Overall, annual robot installations worldwide between 2015 and 2021 more than doubled. Although growth in 2022 appears to be slower across the sector, this is largely due to global uncertainty caused by the pandemic and scarcity of electronic components.
We expect the upward trend of cobot automation to resume in 2023. Why? As companies around the world face shortages of labor and skills, and despite the daily challenges facing the industry right now, we are in the midst of a transition towards Industry 5.0 where working alongside robotics will create more human-centric, sustainable and resilient businesses. .
5. Customers will be at the heart of product development
Although we talk extensively about robot collaboration in the workplace, human collaboration is what drives innovation.
Customers understand their own needs better than anyone else, and as the automation market has matured, they are in a better position than ever to provide valuable input on their requirements. This means that robotics companies will involve customers more in product development. That’s why Universal Robots has reorganized its product creation teams and places a strong emphasis on understanding the problems customers face before designing solutions.
Joint development projects where robotics companies and customers work together to develop specific solutions are also bound to increase in 2023 and beyond. Ultimately, these allow customers to directly influence the product they buy, while at the same time providing valuable feedback to bot companies – meaning they will be able to launch a product to benefit the entire market.
Now more than ever, companies need to constantly innovate and be able to adapt to survive and expand. As we head into 2023, they will rely more than ever on technology and innovation to break new ground with integrated solutions at their core – all of which makes the coming year an exciting time for automation.
About the author
Anders Beck is Vice President of Strategy and Innovation at Universal Robots, a leading developer of collaborative robot arms. Prior to Universal Robots, he held a number of positions at the Teknologisk Institute in Denmark, including Head of Industrial Robotics and Automation.
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