Fast Growth Seen for Robotics

The booming market for industrial robotics is being driven by investments in the automotive sector and strong growth among small to medium-sized businesses, according to a recently released study from ARC Advisory Group Inc.

(www.arcweb.com), Dedham, Mass. ARC projects a 7.7 percent compound annual growth rate over the next five years for the worldwide industrial robotics market. The hardware market was $3.6 billion in 2005, and will grow to $5.1 billion in 2010, says the study, titled “Industrial Robotics Worldwide Outlook.”

Man and machine

High growth is projected in developing nations that will employ industrial robots in traditional applications such as welding and material handling. New innovations are also expected that have the potential to change the very nature of the industrial robot as it is now known, says the report. “The market for industrial robotics will become even more exciting as new technologies and applications emerge. Expect factory floor workers to safely partner with their robotic counterparts to work side-by-side,” says ARC Analyst

Stefan Surpitski, the principal author of the study. Among the innovations, new robotic configurations are emerging to address user needs for greater workflow efficiency. The technology, known as Coordinated Cellular Robotics, consists of conveyorless cells that employ robots capable of working cooperatively and simultaneously on a single workpiece, according to ARC. Additional market drivers include rapid advances in both application and simulation software, which are facilitating adoption of robotic systems in sectors that have either limited resources or a less skilled workforce, says the report.

Smaller lots

Developed countries that are traditionally thought of as large robotics consumers will continue to grow the robotic installed base, but at a slower pace than in the past, the study says. In these regions, small and medium-sized manufacturers will deploy robotic solutions to more efficiently customize products in smaller production lots. In countries where low labor rates may have prevailed over technology in years past, adoption of robotics is expected to increase at a faster rate.

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