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This Is Robotics

What's going on in the world of robotics?

Cobots as Market Drivers

Cobots to drive global piece-picking market growth through 2025. Research & Markets forecasts piece picking at $95.3 million in 2019 and it is expected to reach $1.6 billion by 2025, registering a CAGR of 62.5%,

Cobot market, although relatively new, is poised for massive growth over the next 10 years.

Quotable Quote

Motion waste! Motion waste refers to unnecessary movements within the warehouse. “The amount of time that workers spend walking from location to location throughout the warehouse accounts for about 50% of the total pick time and represents more than 50% of all operational costs.”
—InVia Robotics

LiDAR & Logistics

Seoul Robotics (founded in 2017), which uses AI and machine learning “to power the future of mobility”, announced its first commercial product, Discovery. The 3D computer vision product is “an all-in-one sensor and software solution, expanding LiDAR technology for multi-industry uses.”  

Recent partnerships include: BMW Group, Mercedes-Benz, and Qualcomm. Together with Swiss start-up EmboTech, Seoul Robotics is developing a SaaS fleet automation platform for BMW’s logistic and assembly processes.  

Newbie Flexiv Scores $100 Million

Flexiv (founded 2016), with only 100 of its Rison “adaptive” robots in existence, just sored $100 million in VC funding. Flexiv says Rison’s “AI-based recognition and decision-making power” is ideal for complicated environments and easily adjust to new circumstances and speedy setups for changeovers.

From Russia With Robots

In a deal worth $56 million, U.S. Lighting Group has advance ordered more than 2,000 “meet and greet” promotional service robots from Russia’s Promobot.

“This is one of the biggest deals in the history of service robotics so far,” said Alexei Yuzhakov, chairman of the board of directors of Promobot.  Already in 39 countries worldwide, the five-year agreement will see Promobot enter the U.S. marketplace for the first time.

China’s Top 10 “Homegrown” Cobots

With 2.5 million factories in China, according to the China Statistical Yearbook, and under 10k cobots sold to date, according to the International Federation of Robotics, cobots have a massive upside awaiting in China for 2021-2025.

The sales numbers are so small, in fact, that there’s really no cobot vendor with an insurmountable lead in China. They are all virtually still in the starting blocks. One, two or maybe three vendors from China’s own domestic cobot industry may well have a good chance at prevailing. Here are the Top 10.

Robots Go Green With AI

Amp Robotics (founded 2014), is a maker of high-speed robotics systems to identify and differentiate recyclables found in the waste streams at material recovery facilities (MRF). With a fresh $55 million investment (2021), Amp plans to use the funds “to scale its business operations to meet market demand for its technology and develop new artificial intelligence (AI) product applications.”

“The expansion of AI applications for material identification and recovery is a major focus for us,” says Amp, commenting about a major contract with Toronto-based Waste Connections.

News Points to Ponder

How Robotics in Packaging Can Increase Operations (MarketScale)

Robotics Stocks Continue Strong Momentum (Yahoo Finance)

Farmwise: Automation in Vegetable Crops (California AG)

A Brighter Future? Automation Trends 2021 (Robotics Tomorrow)

7 Sectors That Lag on Workflow Automation (Forbes)

Robots Welcomed by Construction Industry

Built Robotics (founded in 2016) is a San Francisco-based developer that transforms heavy machinery into autonomous robots. Built Robotics turns regular heavy equipment like bulldozers and excavators into self-driving autonomous robots, which can do things like dig trenches, plow and compact soil.

“Construction sites in Canada are transforming into the next great frontier for robots. From self-driving heavy machinery to four-legged robots, the construction industry is fertile ground for innovation, with hopes that robots will improve efficiency, safety and help solve persistent labor shortages.” 

Robotics answer the call of low productivity and hard-to-find workers: “Canada’s construction industry will need to recruit more than 307,000 new workers in the next decade, according to a report by BuildForce Canada.”

Robots Halt Injuries in Metals Industry

The challenge: Blazingly hot metal coils tipping out at 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit roll through production every 45 seconds. “In such a high-pressure environment, product quality and safety cannot always be maintained,” says 32-year metals industry veteran Matthew Palfreman.  “As a result, operators have sustained everything from burns and lacerations to sprains, strain and fatigue.”

Enter FANUC robots: With a custom gripper and vision system, FANUC robots were trained to do the job. Former line workers now tend to robots’ maintenance and perform QC checks. Both safety and quality markedly increased with changeover to robots.

Videos: Seeing Is Believing

First-ever at-sea, portable, battery recharging station for autonomous submersibles from Purdue University Mechanical Engineering.

AUBO cobot on AGV rigged for tapping rubber trees.

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