The global collaborative robot market size was valued at USD 808 million in 2021. It is expected to reach USD 3,142 million by 2030, growing at a CAGR of 18.5% during the forecast period (2022–2030).
Collaborative robots are a prime example of the transition in robotics hardware over the past few years. The past's swift, rigid industrial manipulators, are giving way to collaborative robots in the current market scenario. Collaborative robots are created with safety features like integrated sensors, passive compliance, and overcurrent detection because they are intended to work alongside people. When an external force is too great, the embedded sensors sense it and stop the robot from moving. Cobots are deployable in a cost-effective, safe, and versatile manner. Cobots, or collaborative robots, make automation simpler than ever before, even for small and medium-sized businesses around the globe. Cobots are designed to coexist with humans in the workplace, making automation more accessible than ever for organizations. All of these advantages have made cobots a game-changer for numerous applications.
As a result of their use of plug-and-play technologies, robust sensors, and autonomous robot programming derived from CAD data, collaborative robots enable businesses of all sizes to remain competitive. From intelligent lift assist devices designed to securely lift the weight without their motion power to developing the first cobots with vision-integrated systems for obstacle avoidance, the market is anticipated to expand. Additionally, the field of collaborative robots is expected to present new options for integrating automation into the smart factory. Companies can maximize robot performance due to the robust rise of new technologies such as digital twins, virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and offline programming and simulation software advancements. It also allows companies to design and test various setups to determine the optimal solution for their needs.
Advancements in Edge Computing
Edge computing is an innovative new kind of network architecture that enables companies to go beyond the constraints of conventional cloud-based networks. Edge computing will significantly impact society as novel machines like autonomous robots, and medical sensors become more prevalent. Collaborative robots are now more adaptable and practical to use than ever, owing to developments in edge computing. Integrating these robots would be less expensive because little to no programming would be needed. Continuous advancements in edge computing and other technologies like linked data, parallel processing, and distributed artificial intelligence have made it possible for cobots to make efficient decisions, resulting in reliable and effective execution. Due to their increased adaptability, collaborative robots are now capable of automating a vast array of new jobs and applications.
Companies will expand network services into areas that were previously outside the purview of conventional architectures, owing to the edge computing framework. The ability to increase performance in numerous technologies has the potential to save lives. By identifying equipment issues before they result in failures, edge computing can help improve safety for industrial processes. These developments guarantee that cobots can be easily implemented in the relevant domains. Cobots deployment is anticipated to increase over the forecast period due to public mega cloud providers, platform software vendors, content delivery networks, telecommunications companies, and data center colocation providers innovating to provide fundamental infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) and innovative cloud-native programming services on distributed edge computing infrastructure.
High Initial Investment and Skilled Labor Requirements
Robust hardware and effective software are costs associated with robotic systems. Automation equipment uses cutting-edge automation technologies that are expensive to purchase. For instance, the design, manufacture, and installation of an automated system could cost millions. Additionally, these goods need routine maintenance for best performance, and the burden is on the end-user. For instance, the cost of replacing parts, which averages USD 1,900 for each operation, is included in the price of the da Vinci surgical robot, which costs about USD 1.5 million. Therefore, these robots' high maintenance costs are anticipated to hinder their adoption.
Robotics technology demands a highly skilled workforce capable of controlling the robots and comprehending the processes involved in the robotic operation. However, the companies' use of this technology has been significantly hampered by a shortage of competent staff. Manufacturing enterprises in the UK frequently cite a lack of skilled robot operators as a significant deterrent to adopting robotic automation, which limits the market's expansion.
Collaborative robots, or cobots, are designed for direct human-robot interaction in shared spaces or in places where people and robots are close by. Compared to conventional industrial robot applications, where robots are kept apart from people, cobot applications provide a contrast. In a few applications, collaborative robots are superior to industrial robots because of several technological advancements. Collaborative robot demand is rising due to flexibility, productivity, and safety. Over the following few years, there will likely be a significant increase in demand, with steady growth anticipated over the next ten years.
The continual tooling necessary when employing new materials was the most significant challenge for all robots. New gripper solutions for collaborative robots are now available and are designed to handle large part dimensions. The most recent gripper developments, known as soft grippers, enable robots to manage soft and rigid parts by applying fluid or air pressure to the flexible material. A very sophisticated and effective robotic system is being developed by incorporating machine learning and an artificial intelligence (AI) system. Machine learning decreases the collaborative robots' already minimal programming requirements when discussing pick and place applications. It prepares cobots for Industry 4.0.
The global collaborative robot market is segregated into payload, end-user, application, and region.
By payload, the global collaborative robot market includes Less Than 5 kg, 5–9 kg, 10–20 kg, and More Than 20 kg.
The Less Than 5 kg section is projected to advance at a CAGR of 18% and hold the largest market share over the forecast period. These collaborative robots are the smallest and most compact available, making them ideal for handling or pick-and-place tasks where accuracy is crucial. They are developed for lightweight applications. These are also utilized for inspection duties that don't involve significant lifting. Additionally, there will likely be major prospects for developing lightweight cobots for such uses due to their growing need in assembly applications.
The 5–9 kg section will hold the second-largest market share. The collaborative robots with payloads ranging from 5 to 9 kg are also categorized as lightweight cobots, making them appropriate for small-part assembly operations in consumer goods, consumer electronics, and packaging. The rapid adoption of automation solutions and industrial robots in the logistics, assembly, and packaging industries are anticipated to generate considerable growth prospects for cobots with payloads between 5 and 9 kg.
By end-user, the global collaborative robot market includes Electronics, Automotive, Manufacturing, Food & Beverage, Chemicals & Pharmaceuticals, and Others.
The Automotive section will likely hold the largest market share, expanding at a CAGR of 18.9% over the forecast period. The number of daily automobiles produced by the automotive industry is increasing significantly. To reduce production cycle times and boost production output, the machinery on the production floor must be well maintained. Cobots can effectively reduce direct unit production expenses. Moreover, depending on the assembly process, the throughput may be greater than that of conventional robotic systems. These cobots are primarily utilized in the automobile industry, where they can be applied to producing car parts and assembling completed vehicles.
The Electronics section will hold the second-largest market share. The electronics industry is greatly aided by collaborative robots' ability to do tasks requiring high speed and accuracy, accelerating the expansion of collaborative robots. Robotic technology, coupled with collaborative robots, provides numerous production benefits for electronics manufacturers and is currently being utilized in various ways.
By application, the global collaborative robot market includes Material Handling, Pick & Place, Assembly, Palletizing & De-palletizing, and Others.
The Material Handling section is projected to advance at a CAGR of 16.1% and hold the largest share over the forecast period. Since material handling is used in numerous end-use industries, it is anticipated that it will account for most of the collaborative robot market worldwide. For instance, the electronics and semiconductors sector gains significantly when collaborative robots meet the demand for high-speed and precision work.
The Pick & Place section will hold the second-largest market share. A pick-and-place work is where a robot must pick up a piece of work and move it to a different location or orientation. The primary action, rather than any other process, is handling the workpiece. Pick-and-place work is the most well-liked and in-demand collaborative robot automation application due to its high repetition and ease of use.
The Dominance of Asia-Pacific Over Others
By region, the global collaborative robot market is analyzed across North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and the Rest of the World.
Asia-Pacific will command the market, expanding at a CAGR of 20.5% over the forecast period. Asia-Pacific market expansion may be driven by the region's rapid industrialization and modernization, as well as the majority of manufacturing industries' shift toward automation of their process methods to minimize labor force. Additionally, collaborative robots are increasingly utilized in electronics, automotive, and other industries to boost productivity. According to IFR, Asia was the world's largest industrial robot market in 2020.
In 2020, 71% of newly deployed robots were found in Asia, relative to 67% in 2019. This significant increase demonstrates the region's quick rate of robotization. In addition, the region has a high presence of collaborative robots, which positively impacts the market's growth. Companies like Hanwha Corporation are developing advanced cobots that integrate mobility and AI technologies. For example, the company is merging its robot technology with existing logistics automation systems, secondary batteries, and display-related facilities to generate synergy and meet the different needs of its global clientele.
Europe will likely generate USD 587 million by 2030, growing at a CAGR of 16%. European countries, including Germany, the United Kingdom, and France, are focused on automation by adopting more robots, particularly collaborative robots for industrial sectors, as part of Industry 4.0. The covid-related travel restrictions and Brexit are among the factors that prompted the demand for robots in the United Kingdom to increase dramatically in 2021 and 2022. The United Kingdom is experiencing historic delivery delays, food shortages, and personnel turnover rates in its supply networks.
In addition to developing flexible and adaptable automation solutions for sudden changes in demand, business owners in Europe are looking into ways to prevent supply chain disruptions from causing business disruptions. Both problems can be solved using collaborative robots. Simultaneously, customers anticipate speedier delivery times and enhanced involvement from brands. Due to labor scarcity, it has become challenging for firms to maintain a good consumer base. To combat this issue, corporations are investing in artificial intelligence and robotics. Thus, the government of the United Kingdom encourages market growth.
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