Now’s the Time to Make Investments in Robotics: Here’s Why
Robotics have long been a hotbed of discussion in the manufacturing sector. First, robots were demonized as job stealers. Then, they were hailed for their ability to help people do their jobs better (HMIs). Now, there’s renewed interest in robotics as a complement to machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI), and augmented reality (AR) in factories.
Regardless of perspective, robotics are worth talking about today because there’s significant opportunity for manufacturers that invest in them for the future. Companies putting money behind robotics now are positioning themselves to capitalize in a future that seems murky and muddled by the coronavirus pandemic.
Robotic investments are on the rise
The robotics train is already rolling full steam ahead in many sectors. Automotive manufacturing is the best example, and automakers continue to make significant investments in robotics — to the tune of $8.53 billion next year (2021). Defense and aerospace also have embraced production robotics with open arms. Now, it’s time for other sectors to follow.
According to market research, the total domestic market for industrial robotics will be $75.6 billion by 2024, growing at a CAGR of 9.2% in the coming years. It’s clear manufacturers see application for robotics, and the barrier to entry for these technologies is lower than ever. The time has never been better for broad investment from sectors like pharmaceutical manufacturing, food production, industrial products fabrication, and more.
Why make the investment in robotics?
An investment in robotics today is an investment for stability in the future. With the uncertainty caused by COVID-19 and the current challenges facing manufacturing, producers need to look ahead to connect the dots. How will robotics today create opportunities tomorrow? Here’s a look at some of the top concerns of manufacturers and why robotics are the answer:
- The skills gap. If domestic manufacturing is going to flourish, it needs qualified workers. With the current skills gap, robotics can help bridge the complexity of work to the qualifications of a budding workforce, lowering the barrier to entry for new workers.
- Scalability. With the emergence of 5G and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), it’s become easier to scale operations powered by robotics. Robotics no longer need to be a static part of the production line — they can be a dynamic contributor within the value stream.
- Quality return on investment (ROI). Robotics are conducive to repeatability and control, which help to eliminate errors and waste within the value stream. The cost of investment today could very well become offset by saved costs in the future.
- Traceability and accountability. When a problem arises within the value stream, robotics and automation make it easy to trace the issue, identify the problem, and recalibrate for a resolution. In this way, robotics are conducive to continuous process improvement.
Also, there are safety considerations, productivity improvements, and even job creation that can be attributed to investments in robotics.
Modernization in the age of upheaval
Manufacturing isn’t entering the fourth age — it’s already there. Industry 4.0 is alive and well, and it’s forcing modernization across all sectors. Factories embracing the change see the potential of robotics and the benefits that come with these investments, both now and for the future. Especially now, as the ripples of COVID-19 continue to linger, the need for modernization grows increasingly important and apparent.
For companies with growing digital infrastructure seeking to make modernization investments, robotics offers significant ROI possibilities. There’s never been a better time to explore them.