IFR Predicts “Top 5 Robot Trends of 2022” as Total Industrial Robot Sales Hit New High

The International Federation of Robotics has released what it predicts will be the top five industry trends in 2022.

The main theme underlying the trends will be that robots with new features and functions will conquer new areas and create new markets.

The operational fleet of industrial robots reached a new record of approximately 3 million units worldwide, increasing by 13% on average each year (2015-2020).

Milton Guerry, President of IFR, said, “The transformation of robotic automation is accelerating in traditional and new industries. More and more companies are realizing the many benefits that robotics brings to their business. »

Here is the forecast of the IFR “Top 5 Trends of 2022”.

1. Robots adopted by new industries

Relatively new segments in the field of automation are rapidly adopting robots. Consumer behavior drives businesses to meet the demand for product customization and delivery.

The e-commerce revolution has been driven by the pandemic and will continue to accelerate in 2022. There are thousands of robots installed around the world today that did not exist in this segment just five years ago.

In order to address labor shortages, companies that hadn’t considered automation before will reconsider. Businesses that rely on service workers, such as retail and restaurants, are unable to fill vacancies and therefore we can expect to see them invest in automation to meet the needs. client.

Relatively new robotics client industries like delivery and logistics, construction, agriculture, and many others are benefiting from the technologies that are advancing day by day.

2. Easier-to-use robots

Implementing robots can be a complex task, but newer generations of robots are easier to use. There is a clear trend towards user interfaces that allow simple icon-based programming and manual robot guidance.

Robot companies and some third-party vendors bundle hardware packages with software for ease of implementation. This trend may seem simple, but offerings that focus on complete ecosystems add tremendous value by reducing effort and uptime.

The trend towards low-cost robotics also comes with easy setup and installation, with specific applications pre-configured in some cases. Suppliers offer standard programs combined with grippers, sensors and controllers. Application stores provide program routines for various applications and support the deployment of bots at lower cost.

3. Perfecting Robots and Humans

More and more governments, industry associations and corporations are seeing the need for basic robot and automation training at an early stage for the next generation. The data-driven production chains journey will focus on education and training.

In addition to in-house worker training, external training paths can enhance staff learning programs. Robot manufacturers like ABB, Fanuc, Kuka and Yaskawa all register between 10,000 and 30,000 participants in their robot courses in more than 30 countries each year.

Robotics is changing the job profiles of factory workers for the better. As the recent “Great Resignation” shows, people want to work in a modern environment where they can build a career.

New training opportunities with robotics are a win-win strategy for companies and employees: boring, messy and dangerous tasks are automated while people learn key skills for the industrial workplace of the future and increase their potential income throughout their career.

4. Robots secure production

Trade tensions and Covid-19 are bringing manufacturing closer to the customer. Supply chain issues are leading companies to consider nearshoring with automation as a solution.

A particularly telling US statistic shows how automation is helping businesses get back to business: According to the Association for Advancing Automation (A3), US robot orders in Q3 2021 were up 35% from the same period in 2020. More than half of orders come from non-automotive sectors.

And this record growth isn’t just in robotics: machine vision, motion control, and motors are also seeing big increases.

Dr Susanne Bieller, IFR General Secretary, says: “The pandemic and the resulting disruptions to supply chains and labor availability appear to have been the boost that many had need to justify the investment.

“The companies most likely to invest in automation are those that have been considering it for a while but just haven’t taken the final step.”

5. Robots support digital automation

In 2022 and beyond, we see the focus on data as key enablers for future manufacturing. Data gathered from intelligently automated processes will be analyzed by growers to make more informed decisions.

With a robot’s ability to share tasks and learn through AI, companies can also more easily adopt intelligent automation in new environments, from construction to food packaging and processing facilities. beverages to healthcare labs.

AI for robotics is maturing and learning robots are becoming mainstream. The industry is past the pilot phase and we can expect more deployment of these technologies in 2022.

Mavis R. Bernier