ABB predicts key trends that will change robotic automation in 2022

ABB predicts key trends that will change robotic automation in 2022

As demand for robots increases as companies across multiple industries seek new ways to improve productivity and competitiveness post-pandemic, ABB has compiled a set of growth forecasts, examining the key trends driving demand for robots. robots over the coming year.

“The pandemic has accelerated far-reaching global megatrends – from labor shortages and supply chain uncertainty, to the individualized consumer and growing pressure to operate sustainably and resiliently – driving new companies to embrace robotic automation,” said Marc Segura, new head of robotics at ABB. Division President. “As technology opens up new opportunities to meet customer demands, new trends will continue to emerge that will further drive demand in areas where robots have traditionally not been used.”

Based on conversations with customers, market research and a global survey of 250 companies across multiple industries, ABB has identified three key trends that will shape robot demand in 2022.

Trend 1: The Electric Vehicle Revolution Brings Big Changes to Automotive Manufacturing

As many countries restrict and phase out the production of combustion engine vehicles over the next decade, the race for electric cars has accelerated. Manufacturers and their supply chains must grapple with the complexity of diversifying into electric vehicles alongside combustion engine vehicles, to meet the different regulatory frameworks governing the adoption of electric vehicles around the world. The increased speed and flexibility needed will see new and established manufacturers move away from traditional linear manufacturing towards modular and flexible production.

Segura said: “EV is not just about a change in the powertrain, but a larger transformation into a digitized car. This transition will also see the increasing adoption of robots in combination with other technologies, including mobile robots This will allow manufacturers to optimize component delivery across facilities and enable modular, scalable and integrated production cells – methods traditionally associated with e-commerce and consumer goods, but now required in the automotive industry to ensure the flexibility needed to meet varying levels of demand.

Another major shift will see battery manufacturing move closer to vehicle assembly, to meet sustainability and regional requirements, which in most cases requires brand new facilities.

Trend 2: The e-commerce boom will accelerate

Consumer behavior and expectations are driving companies to find new ways to meet demand, develop new channels through omnichannel retailing, and adapt their production lines and distribution processes to enable product personalization. and delivery. To meet these demands, thousands of robots have been installed around the world where they weren’t used just five years ago, and this rapid pace of automation will continue into 2022, due to a combination of consumer trends and a growing labor shortage.

“This trend will see the growth of lighter and smaller robotic applications, enabling the expansion of automation into new areas of warehousing and distribution operations. As AI in robotics matures and learning robots become mainstream, expect to see these technologies deployed alongside AMR technologies, orchestrated and managed by intelligent software to deliver flexibility, speed and efficiency. increased,” continued Segura.

Trend 3: More robots will appear in more places and workers will need new skills

Smaller, more affordable and easy-to-use robots, such as ABB’s YuMi®, ​​GoFa™ and SWIFTI™ cobots, are helping to remove many barriers that previously prevented companies from investing in robots. This sees an acceleration of robots in general industry and small and medium-sized businesses as companies look for new ways to automate different tasks.

Segura continued: “As we look beyond 2022, we see an ever-increasing focus on connectivity and data acquisition as key enablers for future manufacturing. Data gathered from intelligently automated processes will be analyzed by growers to make more informed decisions. At the same time, more advanced and responsive simulation and programming software tools, such as those in ABB’s RobotStudio, will cover the entire robot application lifecycle, from commissioning to continuous productivity, using AR and VR tools to simplify automation for customers.

The increased ability of robots to work directly alongside humans, share tasks and learn through AI also makes it easier for companies to adopt intelligent automation in new environments, such as construction, laboratories healthcare, restaurants and retail.

In a future characterized by a high prevalence of robots in the workplace, engineers and staff will need to be retrained and more robotics training will be required in schools, colleges and universities, to acquire the skills needed to program, use and maintain robots for an automated future.

A decade of change

The trends outlined for 2022 are the latest chapter in the ongoing transformation of robotic automation that is seeing a rapid acceleration and adoption of robots in industry.

“While automation has always been synonymous with productivity and quality (evolving, doing more), the changes we are seeing today (the biggest in a generation) mean that flexibility and simplicity are key to success”, concludes Marc Segura. “Today, flexibility is essential, it is a strategic need, essential throughout the entire value chain: from manufacturing and logistics to the point of consumption. Robotic automation is a key enabler of this flexibility.

“ABB’s goal is to help our customers achieve this flexibility and add value to their businesses by driving innovation to create new possibilities with robotics, mobile robotics and machine automation, supported by the digital services and training they need to get the most out of their investment. ”

About ABB

ABB is a leading global technology company driving the transformation of society and industry to achieve a more productive and sustainable future. By connecting software to its portfolio of electrification, robotics, automation and motion, ABB pushes the boundaries of technology to take performance to new levels. With a history of excellence dating back more than 130 years, ABB’s success is driven by approximately 105,000 talented employees in more than 100 countries

ABB Robotics and discrete automation

ABB Robotics and discrete automation is a pioneer in robotics, machine automation and digital services, providing innovative solutions for a wide range of industries, from automotive to electronics to logistics. As one of the world’s leading suppliers of robotics and machine automation, we have delivered over 500,000 robotic solutions. We help our customers of all sizes increase productivity, flexibility and simplicity and improve production quality. We support their transition to the connected and collaborative factory of the future. ABB Robotics & Discrete Automation employs more than 11,000 people at over 100 locations in more than 53 countries.

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Norma A. Roth