Meili Robots. During the last five years, we have seen robots move from a developing technology to an indispensable tool for a large number of enterprises. Moreover, over the last two years, robotic trends such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) integration, ubiquitous IoT usage, and rapid design have intensified, while challenges such as supply chain disruptions, labour shortages, and pandemic fears all contributed to an increased demand for manufacturing robots.
Yes, it really is impossible to start an article related to trends and predictions for 2022 without talking about the Covid-19 pandemic. After all, it has permanently changed the way of business for many firms and industries all around the world. One of its biggest impacts is, in fact, related to automation. Many businesses have had to suddenly adapt to changes in the market and reshuffle their priorities. Without automation, this is highly unlikely to happen in an efficient and profitable manner.
With their ability to access and use analytics to predict and prepare for market change or the supply chain disruptions, automation programs have been increasingly adopted across a great many industries. Unsurprisingly, this shift towards automation will keep influencing and changing the way business is conducted during 2022, too — and for many years to come.
Let’s have a look at some of the biggest robotics trends and predictions for 2022.
1. Robotic Process Automation (RPA)
As the growth of RPA is expected to accelerate during 2022, it is also estimated that it will become one of the standard technologies of businesses. RPA is commonly adopted in sectors and businesses that deal with a large number of repetitive tasks.
A good example is the healthcare sector. Many hospitals have implemented RPA to automate processes such as inventory management, invoice management, and appointment scheduling — freeing up more time for employees to focus on more important tasks.
2. Robotics as a Service (RaaS)
Some of the biggest restrictions for smaller firms to add robotics to their manufacturing facilities have been employee expertise and the high initial investment. However, with the everything-as-a-service (*aaS) trend on the rise, this issue no longer exists. Now, companies are able to enjoy RPA through Robots-as-a-Service (RaaS) models.
These subscription-based models — such as Meili FMS — often include analytics, monitoring, and preventive maintenance, while also offering a wide range of benefits such as rapid scalability and the capability to continuously adapt platforms based on current needs and requirements.
3. Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs) as Data Acquisition Platforms
The demand for AMRs has been growing at an incredible rate — driven by the e-commerce growth, increasing automation in manufacturing, labour shortages, and mass personalisation of goods. In fact, even though the AMR (hardware) market was valued at only €0.88B in 2017, it is now forecasted to hit €6.17B in 2022.
Moreover, as AMRs are increasingly being adopted to commercial public spaces, it is expected that they will start acting more like mobile Internet of Things (IoT) hubs. In fact, it is estimated that software for mobile robots alone will add another €2.64B to the market value of AMR hardware.
Besides their ability to carry out a wide range of tasks autonomously — such as scanning inventory levels or measuring temperatures of refrigerators — they can also provide businesses with real-time data. These insights can help managers streamline their operations, thereby increasing their efficiency, productivity, and revenue.
4. Multi-purpose Robots & Cobots
The accelerating e-commerce growth has contributed to tremendous growth in the AMR market — particularly in the retail industry. Many retail managers are reaping the benefits of robot adoption when it comes to repetitive operational tasks such as moving inventory and cleaning the floors.
As shopping demands and expectations continue to grow, retailers are expected to add multi-purpose robots to their teams in order to carry out multiple tasks at once, while simultaneously creating an easy-to-manage digital workflow.
Cobots — also known as collaborative robots — are permanently taking over certain jobs as they tend to be faster and more efficient than human workers. As many industries continue to struggle with labour shortages, cobots are in no way cause for concern. After all, they are supposed to take over monotonous and dangerous jobs, allowing human coworkers to focus on more valuable tasks.
5. Increased Awareness of the Lack of Interoperability
With the continuing trend of cobots in workspaces across the globe, it is no surprise that we are seeing industries such as logistics, manufacturing, e-commerce, and healthcare adopting a second or even third wave of robots. This, however, leads us to one of the major challenges in today’s robotics industry: the lack of interoperability.
As further explained by Meili Robots CEO, Aldus von der Burg, “interoperability is a factor that could be easily overlooked by many robot operators. It allows robots to communicate with each other and other systems to enable an efficient and safe working environment.”
He also adds to this that “if not tackled, it can be a crippling pain point that halts the productivity of the facility — or even grinding it to a halt as some, if not all, robots start obstructing or interfering with each other.”
It goes without saying that it is of the utmost importance — as well as expected — that this issue will be addressed during 2022 to promote further development and avoid stagnation in the ever-growing robotics market.
6. Delivery Robots on the Rise
As is illustrated below, the market for delivery robots is expected to see tremendous growth over the next few years. The market was valued at €188M in 2021 and is expected to reach nearly €850M by 2026. That is, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 35.1% during the forecast period.
Key factors for the growth in this market include the reduction of delivery costs in last-mile deliveries as well as increased venture funding. In addition, there is also an increased demand for delivery robots in the retail and food and beverages industries — with the retail industry estimated to be holding the largest market share during the forecast period.
7. Increased Robotics Demand & Abilities
Over the last ten years, we have seen the demand for robotics increase steadily across various industries. As the Covid-19 pandemic, labour shortages, and the desire to reduce carbon footprints all have a significant influence on the ability of humans to carry out tasks, the robotics market is expected to continue to grow exponentially over the next ten years as well.
As robots are increasingly becoming smarter with the help of technology such as AI, Machine Learning, and the IoT (Internet of Things), industries that have adopted robots are also becoming smarter — think about manufacturing facilities, warehouses, and distribution centres. As more of these facilities start automating their processes, industrial robots will be able to operate faster, more efficiently, and more accurately, while eliminating inconsistencies.
Michelle Schlechtriem, Content Manager, Meili Robots