Automation has been a visible trend across industry sectors, a fact that has brought the rise of robotics into sharp focus over time. It is currently estimated that by the International Federation of Robotics that by 2020, 3 million industrial robots will be in use in factories globally. Moving closer to home, the robotics industry in India is projected to grow at a CAGR of 32% in 2019. Given this scenario, the impact that robotics has over the industry cannot be denied. A clear move, however, is being seen in the sectors where automation has had the strongest hold. While the automotive sector continues to show the highest utilization of industrial robots globally on an annual basis, robotics has moved beyond this space to encompass many other industries and truly help in the transition to a digitally transformative ecosystem. Of these industries, manufacturing has emerged as the next important site of innovation, with India gearing up to be an important player in this space.
Manufacturing catches up to mobility
The major aim of introducing robots to the shopfloor is to increase efficiency. While this move is stereotypically seen as one that denies jobs to physical workers, these individuals play an important role in the success of robotics, especially in the manufacturing sector. After the automotive industry, which utilizes 79 robots for every 10,000 employees, the manufacturing sector is the next major integrator of robotics, using 3 robots for every 10,000 employees. In this sector, the focus is on being able to move large payloads quickly and with precision. Robots are capable of doing just that, helping to streamline shopfloor processes and decreasing production times.
The nascent nature of India’s robotics market, however, in comparison to industry leaders like Japan and USA, demands more manual intervention. This also present the opportunity to develop much deeper human-machine interactions, creating a system that is conducive to both stakeholders and reducing the fear of job loss. Some of the major areas where robotics showcases these advantages in material handling, product moulding, metal welding and shopfloor cleaning. Each of these activities contains an element of risk to human employees that industrial robots help mitigate, thereby ensuring a safe, collaborative work experience.
Harnessing the digital advantage
Another advantage that robotics bring to the industry comes from the integration of important connected technologies such as AI and ML, which help upgrade sensor and storage capabilities across products. In the manufacturing space, the major innovation is in the formation of a systemized assembly-line, aiding in industry efforts to automate its functioning in a streamlined manner. Supply chain management has been one of the areas that has benefitted most from the implementation of automation processes. The creation of a sustainably efficient production line enables manufacturers to supply products to OEMs in a regulated manner, thereby allowing for equitable resource allocation.
Putting India on the automation map
As a result of the connectivity that digital technology now affords, automation has now expanded its reach to move into other areas such as infrastructure and life sciences, where it is now capable of optimizing processes overall. India has been a crucial component in this move to expand the boundaries of automation through the development of R&D centers where existing talent is given the required facilities to innovate and excel.
Collaborative efforts have already been championed between engineers based in India and experts in other global locations. Such collaborations allow for the integration of local knowledge and industry expertise that create more relevant products that can in turn further the growth of the automation industry.
Automation has become a key watchword in the industry, with global organizations now vying to continually innovate and further the evolution of robotics. Integrated robotics solutions like Bosch Rexroth are now enabling India to build its automation potential and move the sphere of influence beyond the automotive sector to encompass other major industry sectors. The country today has the additional benefit of a government push towards digitization in the form of the Digital India campaign, which aims to implement wide-scale digital transformation in the country. Innovation in a globalized world today requires collaboration to be at the core of all efforts and recent trends indicate that India has already begun its journey towards this goal. We believe in working towards a more automated, streamlined and efficient world and look forward to seeing India as an important player in the near future.