ABB: Prime US robotics traits

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With annual income within the U.S. robotics market anticipated to develop at 5.62% (CAGR), leading to a market quantity of over $9 billion by 2027, John Bubnikovich, ABB US Robotics Division President, is making a number of predictions on key traits in robotics automation within the US for 2023 and past.  

”The affect of U.S. labor shortages is more and more being felt by many companies as they wrestle to maintain tempo with buyer calls for, even with the potential for some softening within the US financial system within the short-term,” mentioned Bubnikovich. “This, mixed with world political uncertainty, fragile provide chains and rising materials prices, along with the rising development of reshoring and nearshoring of operations, means extra corporations are adopting robotic automation to maximise flexibility, construct resilience and adapt extra sustainable manufacturing processes.”

Pattern 1 – Demand for robots will enhance in response to long-term labor shortages and a surge in re- and nearshoring

The affect of labor shortages is clearly felt throughout a variety of industries and can proceed effectively past 2023 because the impact of growing older populations and a reluctance to tackle low-paid, boring, soiled and harmful jobs will increase. The Congressional Finances Workplace lately forecast that the dimensions of the U.S. labor drive will develop by simply 0.2% yearly from 2024 to 2031, and by 2030, it’s predicted that greater than 2.1 million US manufacturing jobs can be unfilled, based on a research by Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute. This can hamper financial progress and current corporations with the necessity to discover new methods to plug gaps in workforces.

Demand for robots can be notably sturdy in international locations the place corporations are planning to re- or near-shore their operations to assist enhance their provide chain stability within the face of world uncertainty. In a survey of 1,610 corporations carried out by ABB Robotics in 2022, 70% of US companies mentioned they’re planning to re- or near-shore their operations, with 62% indicating they might be investing in robotic automation within the subsequent three years. 

“Whereas a lot of the mainstream consideration has centered on the affect of automation taking jobs, robots will more and more carry out the bodily tense duties that persons are reluctant to carry out, serving to to reasonable industrial and business labor shortages,” mentioned Bubnikovich. “The persevering with developments in ease of use and versatile efficiency of robots, together with the event of collaborative fashions with bigger payloads comparable to ABB’s GoFa and SWIFTI cobots, imply corporations can handle abilities gaps and make higher use of their current workforces. 

“We may even see robots taking over duties in new sectors comparable to meals processing and healthcare. For instance, ABB robots are in operation at a White Fort frozen hamburger plant in Louisville, Kentucky, the place a very automated packaging system options three various kinds of robots dealing with three completely different features.  And, on the College of Texas Medical Department (UTMB) in Houston, Texas, ABB robots are revolutionizing antibody analysis by automating the testing course of, growing the variety of assessments finished per day from 15 to 1000. We are going to see robots taking over extra roles in related settings going ahead as labor shortages proceed to affect many companies,” mentioned Bubnikovich.   

Pattern 2 – AI and autonomous expertise will make robots simpler to make use of, combine and entry – opening up extra alternatives in new industries 

The current growth of ABB’s Visible Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (Visible SLAM) expertise will improve the productiveness, flexibility and velocity of ABB’s vary of Autonomous Cellular Robots (AMRs). Utilizing AI-enabled 3D imaginative and prescient to carry out location and mapping features, Visible SLAM permits AMRs to make clever navigation choices primarily based on their environment. Options like these allow producers to maneuver away from conventional manufacturing strains in direction of built-in scalable, modular manufacturing cells whereas optimizing the supply of parts throughout services. 

Ongoing developments in synthetic intelligence are powering autonomous greedy and positioning, which can broaden the vary of duties robots can carry out. This better use of AI in robotics helps with duties like selecting non-uniform objects, which is on outstanding show at a Burrtec Waste Industries materials restoration facility in Riverside, California. Right here, vision- and AI-enabled ABB delta robots scan supplies on a waste stream conveyor, selecting a wide range of contaminants from the road that the robotic has realized aren’t in a position to be recycled.  

On the similar time, continued simplification of the software program and controllers used to program robots will additional cut back boundaries to adoption by eradicating the necessity for specialist experience.

“Over the previous few years, the capabilities of Synthetic Intelligence within the robotics realm have improved considerably,” mentioned Bubnikovich. “Because the expertise continues to mature and grow to be much less advanced, enabling ease-of-use and a number of purposes, robotics will penetrate segments past conventional manufacturing and distribution, comparable to electronics, healthcare, e-commerce, prescription drugs and meals service.”

Pattern 3 – Extra specialist partnerships between business and educators will help a brand new period of automation

With extra corporations utilizing robots, there’s a rising want for employees to be taught new abilities that may allow them to thrive in an automatic setting. Attaining it will require a cooperative, multi-generational strategy, from colleges, schools, and universities via to SMEs and supporting associations to offer coaching.  

“Companies sooner or later will want workers with expertise in making use of automation to carry out a wide range of processes,” mentioned Bubnikovich. “As robots grow to be extra prevalent in factories, warehouses and different environments, there can be a rise in partnerships between robotic OEMs, system integrators, producers, and educators to offer individuals with the required abilities for an automatic future. There are already greater than 150 examples of ABB partnerships with educators in the US, the place our robots, RobotStudio simulation and programming software program, and Augmented Actuality and Digital Actuality instruments are used to show college students of all ages the talents wanted to program and use robotic automation.” 

The long run

“Disruption and uncertainty are driving new enterprise fashions, compelling corporations to assume in a different way about the way in which they function. Scalable, versatile and able to dealing with an increasing vary of duties, robots have gotten the brand new paradigm in making companies extra resilient in response to those exterior forces,” mentioned Bubnikovich. 

“As this all unfolds, the profitable implementation of robotic automation would require a layer of certified human engagement to realize the very best outcomes. As new applied sciences proceed to make robots simpler to make use of and deploy, we see 2023 as a yr of alternative that may allow corporations and their workforces to succeed in new ranges of productiveness, effectivity and adaptability.” 

ABB’s funding to help the way forward for robotics

ABB is supporting the anticipated robotics progress in the US by investing over $22 million and creating extremely expert jobs in manufacturing, innovation and distribution operations.

Robotics-specific funding initiatives underway throughout the US embrace:

  • Auburn Hills, Michigan: An enlargement of its North American robotics headquarters and manufacturing facility as extra clients flip to automation to construct resilience whereas bettering effectivity and adaptability as a part of the close to and reshoring of manufacturing. The $20 million funding will create 72 jobs and be accomplished by the top of 2023.
  • Atlanta, Georgia: Opening of a packaging and logistics facility for end-to-end robotic automation options in warehouse and distribution, retail, and logistics industries. This $2 million funding will open in 2023 and create roughly 15 jobs.
  • Houston, Texas: continued funding into ABB Robotics’ healthcare & life sciences hub on the Texas Medical Heart in Houston. The middle focuses on growing non-surgical medical Robotics techniques which are used throughout the US and globally in collaboration with medical employees, scientists and engineers at a devoted facility on the Texas Medical Heart’s innovation campus.

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