Report: Lights-out manufacturing for most tasks will be feasible by late 2020s

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Achieving lights-out manufacturing is a major goal for many companies, but it might not be realistic due to significant barriers and a prolonged timeline, according to new analysis in Lux Research’s new report, “The Path to Lights-Out Manufacturing,” which explores the roadmap for automating different types of manufacturing tasks, including the robotics technologies involved, the main drivers and barriers for automation, and a lights-out manufacturing timeline for different manufacturing tasks. According to the report, there has been a steady rise in activity and interest in lights-out manufacturing from stakeholders in the past five years, and ideas developed in the late 20th century are now seeing a resurgence because of modern technologies like advanced robotics, computer vision, Industrial IoT, machine-learning algorithms, and improved computing. Similarly, funding in robotics and automation in manufacturing has also increased significantly since 2015. While most of the funding is in the form of VC investments in emerging startups, public companies have also raised millions in post-IPO funding, with North America and Asia being the two biggest investors in robotics and automation for manufacturing.

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