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ABB: High US robotics tendencies

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With annual income within the U.S. robotics market anticipated to develop 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 tendencies in robotics automation within the US for 2023 and past.  

”The influence of U.S. labor shortages is more and more being felt by many companies as they wrestle 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.”

Development 1 – Demand for robots will enhance in response to long-term labor shortages and a surge in re- and nearshoring

The influence of labor shortages is clearly felt throughout a variety of industries and can proceed effectively past 2023 because the impact of growing older populations and a reluctance to tackle low-paid, boring, soiled and harmful jobs will increase. The Congressional Finances Workplace lately forecast that the dimensions of the U.S. labor power 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 will probably be unfilled, based on a examine by Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute. It will hamper financial development and current corporations with the necessity to discover new methods to plug gaps in workforces.

Demand for robots will probably be significantly 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 world 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 influence of automation taking jobs, robots will more and more carry out the bodily demanding duties that individuals are reluctant to carry out, serving to to average 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 corresponding to ABB’s GoFa and SWIFTI cobots, imply corporations can handle abilities gaps and make higher use of their present workforces. 

“We may also see robots taking over duties in new sectors corresponding 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 very 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 exams carried out per day from 15 to 1000. We’ll see robots taking over extra roles in related settings going ahead as labor shortages proceed to influence many companies,” mentioned Bubnikovich.   

Development 2 – AI and autonomous know-how will make robots simpler to make use of, combine and entry – opening up extra alternatives in new industries 

The current improvement of ABB’s Visible Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (Visible SLAM) know-how will improve the productiveness, flexibility and pace of ABB’s vary of Autonomous Cell Robots (AMRs). Utilizing AI-enabled 3D imaginative and prescient to carry out location and mapping features, Visible SLAM allows AMRs to make clever navigation choices based mostly 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 broaden the vary of duties robots can carry out. This better use of AI in robotics helps with duties like choosing non-uniform objects, which is on outstanding 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, choosing a wide range of contaminants from the road that the robotic has discovered aren’t capable of be recycled.  

On the identical 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 know-how 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, corresponding to electronics, healthcare, e-commerce, prescription drugs and meals service.”

Development 3 – Extra specialist partnerships between trade and educators will assist a brand new period of automation

With extra corporations utilizing robots, there’s a rising want for staff to study new abilities that may allow them to thrive in an automatic atmosphere. Reaching it will require a cooperative, multi-generational method, from colleges, schools, and universities by way of to SMEs and supporting associations to supply 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 will probably be a rise in partnerships between robotic OEMs, system integrators, producers, and educators to supply individuals with the mandatory abilities for an automatic future. There are already greater than 150 examples of ABB partnerships with educators in the USA, 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 long run

“Disruption and uncertainty are driving new enterprise fashions, compelling corporations to suppose in another way 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 may allow corporations and their workforces to achieve new ranges of productiveness, effectivity and adaptability.” 

ABB’s funding to assist the way forward for robotics

ABB is supporting the anticipated robotics development in the USA by investing over $22 million and creating extremely expert jobs in manufacturing, innovation and distribution operations.

Robotics-specific funding initiatives underway throughout the US embody:

  • Auburn Hills, Michigan: An enlargement of its North American robotics headquarters and manufacturing facility as extra prospects flip to automation to construct resilience whereas enhancing effectivity and adaptability as a part of the close to and reshoring of manufacturing. The $20 million funding will create 72 jobs and be accomplished by the tip 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 can be used throughout the US and globally in collaboration with medical workers, scientists and engineers at a devoted facility on the Texas Medical Heart’s innovation campus.


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