Industrial robots set to cut out human workforce

Greater operational efficiency and a reduction in errors are among the benefits of industrial robots – but the biggest savings are in staffing

Manufacturers are expected to deploy more industrial robots over the next two years to help them drive operational efficiencies.

The global industrial robotics market is expected to be worth $40bn by 2020, a rise of more than $15bn since 2013, according to research company Million Insights.

Global market growth is expected to be driven by manufacturers’ need to reduce operational costs.

According to Million Insights, industrial robots are expected to be deployed to control and automate processes such as testing, assembly, packaging, welding, product inspection and painting.

The research company predicted that rising labour costs in many mature economies, including the US and the UK, will drive the global robotics market.

It said heavy machinery manufacturers could replace their workforce with automation to cut hiring costs and increase overall production.

Million Insights pointed to the use of industrial robots in China, where average labour costs have been rising by nearly 10% a year. The use of robots in industries has helped to slash workers’ idle time by 80% and save more than 50% on production costs, leading to significant cost savings, the research company said.

“High costs, lack of skilled labour and high necessity to improve production processes have led industries to opt for robots as a solution to their production problems,” said Million Insights.

Advanced technologies and sensors, such as cloud communications and wireless, are likely to be used to monitor and control entire manufacturing facilities throughout the day, it said.

Wide use of industrial robots would reduce human errors, thereby increasing the process efficiency and reliability of machinery, it added. Market growth can largely be attributed to the adoption of automation through robotics that ensures quality production while meeting market demand, as well as growing demand from small- and medium-scale enterprises in developing countries, said Million Insights.

However, given the risk to the labour market, experts are urging governments to look closely at the impact of AI and robotics. ................................................................................................... ..................................................................................................................

Read more on Artificial intelligence, automation and robotics

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