Pandemic accelerates investment in automation

Eight out of ten workplaces to step up use of robots in next decade

ABB is expanding its collaborative robot (cobot) portfolio with the new GoFa and SWIFTI cobot families, offering higher payloads and speeds, to complement YuMi and Single Arm YuMi in the company's cobot line-up.

“These stronger, faster and more capable cobots will accelerate the company’s expansion in high-growth segments, says ABB, including electronics, healthcare, consumer goods, logistics and food and beverage, amongst others, meeting the growing demand for automation across multiple industries.

Driven by intuition

GoFa and SWIFTI are described as intuitively designed, so customers need not rely on in-house programming specialists. "This will unlock industries that have low levels of automation, with customers able to operate their cobot within minutes of installation, straight out of the box, with no specialised training," comments ABB.

“Our new cobot portfolio is the most diverse on the market, offering the potential to transform workplaces and help our customers achieve new levels of operational performance and growth”, says Sami Atiya, president of ABB’s Robotics & Discrete Automation Business Area. “They are easy to use and configure, and backed by our global network of on-call, on-line service experts to ensure that businesses of all sizes and new sectors of the economy, far beyond manufacturing, can embrace robots for the first time.”

ABB adds that its cobot portfolio expansion is engineered to help existing and new robot users accelerate automation amid four key megatrends, including “individualised consumers, labour shortages, digitalisation and uncertainty that are transforming business and driving automation into new sectors of the economy”. The expansion follows the Business Area’s focus on high-growth segments through portfolio innovation, helping to drive profitable growth.

Automation driving future of manufacturing

In a global survey¹ of 1,650 large and small businesses in Europe, the US and China, 84% of businesses said they will introduce or increase the use of robotics and automation in the next decade, while 85% said the pandemic had been “game changing” for their businesses and industry, with COVID-19 a catalyst for accelerating investment in automation.

“Nearly half of businesses (43%) said they were looking to robotics to help them improve workplace health and safety, 51% said robotics could enhance social distancing and more than one-third (36%) were considering using robotic automation to improve the quality of work for their employees,” adds ABB More immediately,78% of company CEOs and managing directors said recruiting and retaining staff for repetitive and ergonomically challenging jobs is a challenge.

Cobots are designed to operate in the presence of workers, without the need for physical safety measures such as fences, and to be very easy to use and install. In 2019, more than 22,000 new collaborative robots were deployed globally, up 19%, compared to the previous year².

Cobot demand predicted to soar

The demand for collaborative robots is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 17% between 2020 and 2025³, while the value of global cobot sales is expected to increase from an estimated $ ~0.7 billion in 2019 to $ ~1.4 bn by 2025*. The global market for all industrial robots is projected to grow from $ ~45 billion in 2020 to $ ~58 billion by 2023 (CAGR of 9%)**.

“With this expansion, we are making cobots easier to use and deploy, with real-time support to help speed their adoption in businesses that may have not considered their use previously,” Atiya adds. “Our experience is that the best performing operations harness people’s skills, alongside the potential of new technologies.”

Users comfortable with operating a tablet or smartphone will be able to program and re-program the new cobots with ease, says the company, using ABB’s fast set-up tools. Customers will also benefit from ABB’s global industry and application expertise, which has been developed from installing more than 500,000 robot solutions since 1974 and supported by ABB’s network of over 1,000 global partners.

GoFa and SWIFTI are engineered to help businesses automate processes to assist workers with tasks including material handling, machine tending, component assembly and packaging in manufacturing, medical laboratories, logistics hubs and warehouses, workshops, and small production facilities.

¹ ABB Industry Survey January 2021. Conducted by 3Gem Global Market Research & Insights, the ABB industry survey of 1650 CEO or Managing Director decision-makers in large and small businesses in the US, China, UK, Germany, Switzerland, Italy and Sweden, included technology, retail, healthcare, engineering, manufacturing, automotive, food & beverage, leisure, FMCG, and transportation & logistics executives. Conducted December 26, 2020 - January 19, 2021, 3Gem Research & Insights utilise industry-standard panel management systems and adhere to stringent quality control procedures, delivering double opt-in, GDPR-compliant consumer and B2B panels.

² Source: Interact Analysis The Collaborative Robot Market 3rd Edition

³ and * Source: Interact Analysis The Collaborative Robot Market 3rd Edition and ABB internal analyses

** Source: ABB internal analyses

 

The demand for collaborative robots is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 17% between 2020 and 2025.
The demand for collaborative robots is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 17% between 2020 and 2025.

ABB Limited

Orion House
Maidstone Road
Kingston
Milton Keynes
MK10 0BD
UNITED KINGDOM

+44 (0)1908 350300

contact.centre@gb.abb.com

www.abb.com/robotics

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