Buoyant Demand for Cobots to Usher Innovation in Material Handling Robots Industry
The global material handling robots industry size was valued at USD 7.34 billion in 2021 and it is likely to witness a healthy CAGR of 17.4% CAGR during the forecast period 2022-2030. An exponential growth of the e-commerce sector, expanding connectivity, personalization, urbanization and lack of warehouse workers have fueled the demand for robots to boost the supply chain. Manufacturers and developers have sought robots to optimize material handling processes across manufacturing, logistics, warehousing and retail sectors. Trends indicate state-of-the-art technologies, including artificial intelligence, will gain ground to streamline tasks and fulfill orders. Stakeholders expect collaborative robots (Cobots), autonomous mobile robots and automated guided vehicles (AGV) to receive an uptick as smart solutions to overcome logistics challenges.
The advent of collaborative robots has provided an impetus to industries with increased productivity, reduced work-related injuries and rich labor resources. Since material handling tasks are instrumental across industry verticals, robotics and automation are slated to gain steam. According to the International Federation of Robotics (IFR), in 2021, around 517,385 new industrial robots were installed in factories globally. In essence, technological advancements in sensors and grippers are anticipated to have an overarching influence on the global outlook.
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The collaborative robots market size was pegged at USD 1.01 billion in 2021 and could observe around 31.5% CAGR during the assessment period. Notably, the emergence of AI and 5G in robots will enable manufacturers to unlock growth potentials, including bolstering productivity, saving time and making work safer.
Automated guided vehicles have received immense traction to foster product flows against the backdrop of developments in software and sensor technology. AGVs have become sought-after to accomplish task more efficiently and precisely vis-à-vis humans. The technology will continue to gain ground across advanced and emerging economies, mainly due to space optimization, reduced personnel costs, increased accuracy & speed, bullish operational flexibility and robust traceability & control.
These dynamics have prompted industry leaders to foray into the AGV landscape. In February 2023, Darwynn Ltd. announced the launch of its new center with bespoke automation technologies, including AGVs, automated storage and retrieval system (ASRS) and advanced conveyance technology. It is worth mentioning that the automated guided vehicle market size logged USD 3.81 billion in 2021 and will expand at around 10.2% CAGR during the forecast period.
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Some dynamics that are expected to influence the global ecosystem are delineated below:
- The emergence of big data and machine learning could bring a paradigm shift across industry verticals. The use of robots-as-service and automated production can optimize machine performance, boding well for market growth.
- Autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) have added fillip to the material handling robots industry growth in the wake of surging deployment across hospitals, hotels, the manufacturing sector and terminals.
- Asia Pacific could contribute significantly to the global market with advancements in Industry 4.0 and surging demand for robots in warehousing facilities and manufacturing units across China, India, Japan and Australia.
North America is expected to witness investment galore in light of bullish demand from the automotive sector and installations in the metal & machine industry. Moreover, the food & beverage sector across the U.S. and Canada has exhibited strong demand for robotics technologies. Stakeholders have also explored opportunities for the growth of the e-commerce sector. Prominently, leading players are using state-of-the-art technologies for e-commerce businesses to optimize inventory positioning, enhance customer experience and minimize stockouts. The trend for customized orders has prompted businesses to invest in AGVs and AMRs to eliminate errors while picking, weighing and shipping, enhance workflow and bolster safety.
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Brands and businesses have furthered investments in organic and inorganic growth strategies, including R&D activities, mergers & acquisitions, technological advancements and innovations. To illustrate, in February 2021, ABB announced the rollout of GoFa and SWIFTI cobot families to unlock the potentials of automation and provide higher speeds and payloads. Meanwhile, in February 2022, KION Group introduced the IMOCO research project for smart and safe self-driving trucks for applications in warehousing and production.
Corporate Sales Specialist, USA
Grand View Research, Inc.
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