Robot Predictions for 2022

Today I’d like to go over some predictions that were made by ABB’s Robotics Division President Mark Segura about what kind of developments onlookers can expect to see for industrial robotics in the next year or so. Now, again, the bulk of these predictions come from ABB’s Mark Segura, but they do mirror much of what we ourselves have uncovered and written about at Automation World in recent years. So, I’ll be sharing Mark’s predictions, but I’ll also be adding a few additional insights. So, there are three key trends Mark emphasizes. Number one is that the growing proliferation of electric vehicles will bring changes to automotive manufacturing, which will be felt in increased demand for certain types of robots. To give some more perspective on this, Bloomberg estimates that worldwide EV sales will increase from 1.1 million in 2017 to 11 million by 2025. And that’s for a variety of reasons that we don’t really need to go into here. What’s more important from out standpoint is that it requires new manufacturing facilities and procedures because the manufacturing process for EVs is different than for internal combustion engine vehicles, and requires different components, the most prominent of which is of course the EV’s battery. Now, automotive manufacturers will want to bring the production of batteries as close as possible to vehicle assembly for a multitude of reasons, and this means new facilities will need to be built. When you build new facilities rather than upgrading old facilities, you are more likely to buy the latest and greatest tech on the market, simply because you can. You can start from scratch, so why not build the best facility possible? The result is going to be that these new facilities are built to be responsive to an environment in which demand is more unpredictable, meaning that they will most likely adopt modular and flexible as opposed to fixed production models. That means mobile robotics and other flexible technologies. So, this is somewhere where we could see AMRs, for instance, really blow up.

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