Post-COVID-19, the global traditional industrial robotics market size is projected to grow from USD 44.6 billion in 2020 to USD 73.0 billion by 2025 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 10.4% during the forecast period. The projection for 2025 is estimated to be down by ~3% as compared to pre-COVID-19 estimation.
Almost all the countries worldwide are expected to continue to ban people from other countries for a few more months to curb virus spread. This would lead to the shortage of skilled workers, which, in turn, would lead to the increased demand for industrial robots to perform tasks such as welding, painting, assembly, and packaging, which are usually performed by skilled workers.
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Many industries, such as pharmaceuticals and food & beverages, are witnessing increased demand during this pandemic. Companies are not able to meet this increased demand due to the unavailability of labor. Therefore, to be ready for the future crisis, companies are likely to adopt industrial robots to increase speed to bridge demand and supply gaps and handle labor shortage, thus, driving the industrial robotics market.
In various countries, lockdown is imposed to mitigate the impact of COVID-19; therefore, companies are challenged by supply chain issues. It is expected that to be well prepared for future such crises, these companies might reduce dependence on suppliers and become self-sufficient. This might lead to setting up new infrastructure by the companies, which in turn would lead to an increase in demand for industrial robots.
The companies might also move towards the adoption of cleanroom robots to increase sanitization and prevent the spread of diseases. Cleanroom robots are expected to be widely adopted in the food & beverage industry and pharmaceutical industry as in these industries, there are high chances of contamination with foreign bodies. SCARA robots are generally used for cleanroom applications. For instance, Sky Engineering (US), a precision engineering company, has deployed robots manufactured by Universal Robots (Denmark) in computerized numerical control (CNC) tending applications that include activities such as cleaning the parts and jaws in between the process cycle. ABB (Switzerland), YASKAWA (Japan), KUKA (Germany), and FANUC (Japan) are some of the other significant players offering cleanroom robots. Targeting cleanroom applications might help the companies in the industrial robotics market to widen their revenue streams.
This pandemic has hit the retail industry very hard; if this pandemic intensifies, then the retail companies might need automation technologies, and robotic system manufacturers might grab this opportunity. For instance, in recent times, we have witnessed retailers placing large orders for kiosk ordering systems. Initially, jobs in other retail sectors such as grocery and delivery have been labor-intensive and involved tasks such as loading trucks and stocking shelves. However, the introduction of retail robots, due to the accelerated spread of the pandemic, is disrupting the industry. For example, Simbe Robotics (US) has recently released the inventory tracking robot called Tally. Many retail robots are being launched in the retail sector to conduct tasks such as manage store inventory, address worker shortages, and help shoppers find items, and monitor stock levels for better efficiency.
The most significant disruption that we have witnessed during this pandemic in the industrial robotics market is in the supply chains of the robotics ecosystem and the manufacturing sector, wherein there might be an increase in investments to enable automation. Companies such as Fetch Robotics (US), Mobile Industrial Robots A/S (Denmark), and Autonomous Mobile Robot (AMR) have already proven their technological superiority and do not need new investments. Also, they are witnessing increased inquiries about how robots can improve the speed, accuracy, and safety of production.
In the healthcare sector, mobile robots that are used for delivering medicines, transportation of meals, and disposal of linen and waste, have seen a surge in demand. These robots essentially act as personal protective equipment (PPE) by enabling human distancing. Also, as social distancing guidelines become more and more stringent and imposed worldwide, hospitals are demanding mobile robots fitted with UV-C light disinfection equipment to sanitize wards and rooms.
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