Universal Robots (UR), a Denmark-based collaborative robots (cobots) maker, underscores the advantages of leveraging the technology in the manufacturing sector not only in productivity but also in safety.
The manufacturing sector experienced a downturn because of lockdowns and mobility restrictions that governments imposed to help curb the virus that causes COVID-19. Quoting the Philippine Statistics Authority, UR said the manufacturing production in the Philippines reported an annual rate of -46.5% in February, a drop from its previous months’ annual rate of -16.7%.
However, with organizations realizing the advantages of using cobots — such as increased productivity and effective employee utilization — the technology is expected to see gains in the coming years.
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According to the “Collaborative Robot Market by Payload, Component, Application, Industry, and Geography – Global Forecast to 2026” report by Markets and Markets, the market is expected to reach $7,972 million by 2026 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 41.8%. Cobots’ market in the Asia Pacific (APAC) is also expected to surpass that in Europe by 2021 due to large-scale cobots deployment in manufacturing industries especially automotive, electronics, and metals sectors which are increasingly deploying cobots.
UR highlights how its cobots allow employees to move from repetitive, low-value tasks to higher-value activities that increase work productivity.
“Safety is imperative and has become the cost of entry into the cobot market now,” said James McKew, regional director of Asia-Pacific in Universal Robots. “UR believes in developing affordable, lightweight, and flexible cobots that could deliver a rapid return on investments (ROI) for the manufacturing industry.”
UR said the use of cobots has an average payback period as short as 12 months due to increased productivity, quality, and consistency and manufacturers may foresee a return of investment (ROI) in just a year.
UR noted how Yokota Corp., a Japan-based tool manufacturer, selected UR5 cobots to address its labor shortages. The company tried engaging part-time employees and redeploying workers from other departments. However, the company found these measures unproductive for its needs. It also tried traditional industrial robots but additional space requirements and safety guarding were just not feasible enough to continue their use.
With safety and versatility as key benefits, the deployment of UR5 cobots led to the establishment of a stable production system, delivering a 20 percent production increase without the need for additional human resources.
As Asia remains the strongest market for industrial robots, Universal Robots encourages local manufacturers to deploy cobots on manufacturing floors.
“By lowering automation barrier within the reach of manufacturers who never thought that they could deploy robots due to cost and complexity, we hope to help the Philippine industries realize higher productivity and maintain effective utilisation of their plants,” McKew said.