Wave of the future

AUTOMATICA TRADE FAIR: 

Oaklins’ robotics specialist returns from the Automatica trade fair with a view from the horizon.

David Zürrer, an Oaklins’ robotics specialist, was in Munich this week visiting Automatica, the leading trade fair for robotics and automation. He spoke with decision makers who were excited about the future of their businesses and the fast-paced developments taking place in what is considered the Fourth Industrial Revolution. David was joined by Oaklins’ automated production systems specialist, Martin Steidle. We caught up with David to find out what is trending in robotics.

As greater investment is being funneled into new technologies, software development is enhancing robotic precision and capabilities. Advances in programming mean robots are being freed to perform multiple tasks, rather than programmed to perform one specific function, making them more versatile and cost efficient. “More and more, small and medium-sized companies are investing in robotics and automation,” said David. At the moment, the manufacturing and logistics sectors are still taking the greatest advantage of automated technology. Talking about artificial intelligence, David remarked, “There is a greater demand for investment in AI in the area of logistics, where applications are being developed to move goods in the warehouse more efficiently and quickly.”

Software development is working to enable smart machines to become increasingly faster, safer and precise while robots are becoming cheaper and simpler to manage. David pointed out changes on the horizon for industries such as the fast food sector, where robots are likely to play a much bigger role. “We are seeing a development of interfaces for non-technical employees,” he said. Though the current industrial robots have not fully developed the fine motor skills to perform some of the more delicate tasks, they are increasingly becoming more sophisticated in their abilities. Cobots, or collaborative robots, are designed to have the capacity to perform human tasks and safely work alongside humans, assisting us in areas such as heavy lifting or packaging. Improved sensor technology makes these robots more secure, so that robots will continue to become more accessible and necessary for businesses of all sizes which hope to remain competitive.

Chinese companies are not waiting. They’re taking advantage, with big investments in robotics, automation and AI. Germany is moving in on highly specialized sectors and the US remains at the vanguard of artificial intelligence and software development. The future is being written now. Oaklins’ specialists have extensive M&A experience in robotics and automated production systems and have advised numerous clients active in these fields.

Will the wave of the future pass you by or will you catch it to come out ahead? We would be happy to speak with you about market opportunities and making investments in innovation work for you and your business.