Today, 75% of end users use robotics along their manufacturing lines, and the capabilities for food and pharmaceutical processing are game-changers.
New jobs, greater safety, and increased productivity: These are just a few benefits ascribed to robotic technologies by participants in the newest business intelligence study by PMMI, The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies, "Trends in Robotics Market Assessment 2014."
The 100 interviews conducted for the study-in-depth conversations with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), integrators, robot suppliers, and industry experts-revealed shifts in robotic use, expected benefits, and more.
2014 survey respondents anticipate the following developments that will redefine the role robotics play in manufacturing operations:
•Spatial awareness that keeps workers adjacent to the robot safe
•Lower costs that will make robotics more pervasive
•Vision sensors that allow even greater precision and handling-even giving robots the ability to sort by color
•Faster speeds and heavier lifting capabilities
These developments are resulting as much from increased usage as they are from advancements in hardware and software, notes Paula Feldman, Director, Business Intelligence, PMMI. "When we studied the robotics marketplace in 2008, only 20 percent of manufacturers used robots to package their products. Today, 75 percent of end users use robotics at some point along their manufacturing lines, and the capabilities for food and pharmaceutical processing are game-changers."
And, although robotics are integral to replacing manual labor and reducing operating costs, they're also creating new job opportunities. The manufacturing worker of tomorrow will need to have a higher level of technical training to design, integrate, operate, and maintain robotic technologies.
Jim Butschli, Packaging World Features Editor