The post-Covid global industry faces significant challenges such as labor shortage, increasing labor costs, and supply chain crisis. These challenges are threatening manufacturers' profit margins. While industrial robots have been adopted for a long time, due to their high upfront costs, low affordability, and potential concerns over job replacement, many global corporates and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have started to transition to more affordable and flexible collaborative robots (cobot) solutions.
Compared with industrial robots, cobots have shown great promise in many applications, such as automotive manufacturing and food and beverage, thanks to their high flexibility, small footprint, high affordability, and better ability to work alongside human operators. Furthermore, with the increasing demand for high-mix, low-volume (HMLV) manufacturing and human-machine interaction (HMI), cobots are expected to increase rapidly in the upcoming two decades.
Although the adoption of cobots is lower than industrial robots, IDTechEx sees several significant drivers, including the 'Industry 5.0' plan from the European Commission (EU) and the 'Smart Factory 2025' proposal by a few leading automotive manufacturers. More details will be discussed in the webinar.
Safety, as one of the critical features of cobots, plays an essential role in HMI. Since there is no physical separation between human operators and cobots, many sensors will be needed to ensure safety. Torque sensors are most widely used in commercialized cobots as they can measure the torque change and detect collisions. With the development of novel technologies, cameras, haptic sensors, and capacitive proximity sensors are being increasingly adopted in cobots.
Unlike industrial robots that are usually designed for specific tasks, cobots can be used in various applications with the aid of different end-effectors (also known as End-of-the-Arm Tooling (EoAT)). Typical end-effectors include grippers, vision systems, sanding and polishing tools, screwing tools, and many others.
In this webinar, IDTechEx Technology Analyst Yulin Wang will talk about the critical enabling technologies used in collaborative robots (cobots), explain several key applications, and analyze how the market size will change in the next two decades.
This webinar will include:
- A summary of different human-robot interaction
- Four safety requirements for cobots
- Comparison of cobots and industrial robots
- An overview of cobot market segmentation based on payloads, weights, reach, and repeatability
- A discussion of cobot applications and quantifiable payback time by application
- An overview of the suppliers of cobots
- A technical and financial analysis of the key enabling technologies, including proximity sensors and cobot grippers
- An explanation of the technical forecasting chart of how IDTechEx sees the industry going in 20 years