The COVID-19 pandemic is poised to accelerate adoption of autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) to ease supply chain backlogs. Even before the coronavirus pandemic shut down the global economy, leading companies that distribute large amounts of goods were deploying, or evaluating, AMRs such as DHL and Ryder. UPS yesterday announced that it has begun deploying AMRs in some of its facilities to consolidate orders. UPS wants to "create more custom and turnkey outsourced fulfillment services to meet our customers' unique supply chain needs," according to a statement from Philippe Gilbert, UPS's president of supply chain solutions. The weak link in warehouse automation efforts is the shortage of people to fulfill the steady rise in e-commerce transactions.
Internet of Business's comprehensive guide to where Industry 4.0 will lead manufacturers in the year ahead. Most manufacturers believe they are leading their markets in Industry 4.0 technologies, despite evidence to the contrary. There is a huge gap between the many companies that are exploring digital manufacturing strategies – via technologies such as automation, robotics, AI, and the Internet of Things – and those that are implementing them successfully. With Brexit looming, many manufacturers and solutions providers fear what this will mean for the wider European industrial community, which depends on the free movement of people and confident investment. The UK Budget recently sought to soften this blow by reinforcing the UK's commitment to a strong environment for international scientific collaboration. As part of this investment in R&D, the government will increase the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund by £1.1 billion, supporting technologies of the future. This includes up to £121 million for the Made Smarter initiative to support the transformation of manufacturing through digitally enabled technologies, such as the Internet of Things and virtual reality.
From all indicators, robots as a service (RaaS) is growing rapidly. ABI Research predicts there will be 1.3 million installations of RaaS by 2026 generating $34 billion in revenue. Let's look at what robots as a service entails, the reasons for its growth and some companies that offer RaaS solutions and the tasks it can support. Many are now familiar with the concept of software as a service (SaaS) or big data as a service (BDaaS), the pay-as-you-go or subscription-based service model. In a similar set-up, those who sign up for robots as a service get the benefits of robotic process automation by leasing robotic devices and accessing a cloud-based subscription service rather than purchasing the equipment outright.
The EksoVest supports the wearer's arms during lifting. Millions of people Suffer from the effects of spinal cord injuries and strokes that have left them paralyzed. Millions more suffer from back pain, which makes movement painful. Exoskeletons are helping the paralyzed to walk again, enabling soldiers to carry heavy loads, and workers to lift heavy objects with greater ease. An exoskeleton is a mechanical device or soft material worn by a patient/operator, whose structure mirrors the skeletal structure of the operator's limbs (joints, muscles, etc.).
FANUC, the world's largest maker of industrial robots, plans to start connecting 400,000 of their installed systems by the end of this year. The goal is to collect data about their operations and, through the use of deep learning, improve performance. Similarly, Kuka is building a deep-learning AI network for their industrial robots. FANUC is now moving forward to connect all its manufacturing robots. The system proactively detects and informs of a potential equipment or process problem before unexpected downtime occurs.