Last year was a record-breaking year for robot orders and shipments, with more robots being bought and implemented than ever before. Overall, orders were up 10% from 2015, but a few industries and applications paved the way for truly significant increases in automation.
A few key statistics to take note of:
- Robot orders surged 61% in assembly applications
- Food and consumer goods orders were up 32%
- Spot welding application orders were up 24%
- Automotive orders were up 17%
- Q4 alone showed 18% overall growth in robot orders
Robots are rapidly becoming commonplace in manufacturing, and the growth is exponential. But what’s driving this trend? Why are robot orders growing so fast?
3 Major Driving Forces of Robot Order Growth
There are 3 main reasons that manufacturers continue to order and implement robotic solutions in their applications:
The strongest and most impactful driving force behind the growth in robotics is the significant increases to productivity they provide. Robots work faster, smarter, more precisely and with less waste than manual laborers.
Robots have high levels of repeatability, leading to high quality work, and can handle inspection and assembly processes at a higher volume and pace than a human. Initial investment in automation may be high, but robots typically provide great ROI while boosting production performance (to see how robots could improve your ROI, check out the RIA ROI Robot System Value Calculator).
Robots, by design, are becoming more and more collaborative. A 2016 report released by the White House, titled “Artificial Intelligence, Automation and the Economy”, showed that manufacturing labor will increase the most where humans work in collaboration with robots.
Robots improve safety in production processes and boost employee satisfaction by creating higher quality jobs.
As robotic capabilities rapidly increase, manufacturers must implement automation techniques to remain competitive – not just for short-term performance gains, but for long-term increases in productivity.
Buying and implementing robots, as well as training staff, is a significant investment, but manufacturers are more than willing to do this in order to remain competitive. In the industrial sector, if you’re not automating processes, then you’re falling behind.
To learn more about the future of robotics, read our industry insight on the consumerization of robots and how that will affect the industrial economy as well as everyday consumers.