Growing use of mobile robots on factory floors: report
The industrial robotics sector is seeing robust growth as manufacturers increasingly update their automation. The revenues from sales of commercial robots in manufacturing are forecast to grow from US$166 million in 2018 to US$22 billion by 2027 according to ABI Research, a market foresight advisory firm.
The newest trend is complementary robotics technologies that put mobile robots on the factory floor. Made up of automated guided vehicles (AGVs) and autonomous mobile robots (AMRs), these robots will complement existing robotic arms in factories that are increasingly becoming more autonomous and smarter.
There has been plenty of debate within the industry on the different benefits of AGVs and AMRs. While AGVs are a much cheaper precursor to AMRs, they require floor markers to guide their movement and are more suited to greenfield deployments. For those wanting infrastructure-free navigation and a flexible production line, AMRs represent the future standard. Ultimately, manufacturers will benefit from either of these solutions as they can push carts and deliver parts within or between the factories, optimising workflows, minimising workplace hazards and freeing up valuable staff resources.
“The advancements in machine vision, simultaneous localisation and mapping (SLAM), swarm intelligence and sensor fusion are making it possible for mobile robots to operate in unstructured environments such as the factory warehouse and the assembly area,” said Lian Jye Su, Principal Analyst at ABI Research. “These technologies are being supported by many cameras and sensors, such as LiDAR and radar. Moving forward, the robot can benefit from the integration of deep learning algorithms with sensor fusion and swarm intelligence.”
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