Research
Interview Synopsis

Robotics trends 2019 – demand recovery & technology drivers

  • Multi Asset
  • Industrials
  • Europe

Predictions about how automation will affect the future of work vary considerably, but it is undoubtedly already under way – and transforming how industries function. To better understand the trends shaping this market and what will drive growth next, we spoke to a C-level executive from Kuka. 

Click on the hyperlink below to access the full Forum transcript.

How robotics are transforming industries

The leading companies in this space, often referred to as the “big four”, are ABB, Kuka, Fanuc and Yaskawa. However, Universal Robots has been “underestimated” by these companies. By focusing on supplying small and medium-sized enterprises, Universal is taking market share from the big four. 

Demand in robotics is, to a certain extent, cyclical, the expert pointed out. There was close to 10 years of “unprecedented growth” after the Lehman Brothers’ crash, but geopolitical factors and uncertainty over the future of cars are leading to a decline in manufacturing, which is in turn affecting demand for robotics. 

Auto is a leading market for robotics. According to our expert, the metal portion of the manufacturing process for cars is almost entirely automated. However, the opposite applies to final assembly. This part is complicated to automate, as it requires robots to work safely and efficiently along- side people, but “there is quite a lot of opportunity” for companies to enter this area. Integrators already working in auto could have an advantage here – especially those with vision- sensing expertise. 

Regarding other sectors that could accelerate demand for robotics, our expert pointed to food and beverages, which is seeing stable growth. Pharma is another area experiencing gains, with the specialist citing opportunities for laboratory automation. E-commerce is “obviously extremely exciting”, with a forecasted labour shortage driving the need for expanded automation. 

The Interview also touched on how companies are innovating. As a percentage of revenue, the specialist estimates that R&D will remain slightly below 10%. Although there’s been a lot of spending on “cobots”, robots that collaborate with people, this has largely been unprofitable. However, mobility and connectivity should see more attention, while peripheral and application equipment offer the greatest short-term ROI potential. 

To access all the human insights from the Robotics Trends 2019 – Demand Recovery & Technology Drivers Interview, click below to view the full transcript. 

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