How Robotic Start-Ups are Addressing Industrial Robot Manufacturing Issues?
Over the past few years, the employment of robots in the industrial sector has increased drastically. Be it for production works, or deliveries, industrial robot usage has raised three-fold in the past decade alone. While big companies are making large size robots to address the industrial need, robotic start-ups are also trying their hand at producing industrial robots that could serve production and delivery purpose.
Every time an industrial revolution took place in the past, a lot of things changed. More mechanism was implied in the way the manufacturing sector works. The same is unfolding today. At a time when industrial revolution 4.0 is at its peak, technology is invading the factory floors. Therefore, the core element of this fourth revolution is technology, especially, robotics. The manufacturing sector was one of the early adopters of machinery. Whenever new machinery or a technology powering the machinery came to market, it would first go to the manufacturing house. As the influence intensifies, more and more companies are jumping into the robotics market. Particularly, industrial robot makers are ballooning over the past couple of years. This could be due to the impact of Covid-19 and lockdowns. The social distance protocols and 50% strength on the factory floor have increased the need for industrial robots. Some of the famous robotic start-ups contributing to the development of industrial robots are,
- Israeli start-up Deep Learning Robotics develops a vision-based robotic controller that gives robots the possibility to observe humans in action and learn to take over the tasks performed, which the next step is compared to the regular learning mechanism used before.
- On Robot, a Denmark-based start-up dedicates to producing end-of-the-arm solutions, including arms and grippers for manufacturing and logistics sectors.
- Soft Gripping, a US-based robotics start-up designs universal gripping robots that have modular customizable structures and can handle objects of different sizes, dimensions, and forms.
Today, industrial robotics has over 2.4K start-ups that comprise companies that develop robots that automate a task primarily in industries. It includes companies offering automation solutions like warehouse automation, production lines, surgical robots, and rehabilitation robots. Unfortunately, they are facing many barriers to programming, skills, expenses, etc.
Pain points of making industrial robots and solutions
Earlier, there was a problem with the cost of hardware that was used on industrial robots. But today, it has drastically reduced driving to more robotic adoption. Low-cost alternatives t traditional hardware solutions are also mushrooming, making the process even easier. For example, sensors are employed to make magnitude cheaper than prior alternatives. Unfortunately, the problem still lies with programming. Programming in robotics is seen as a bottleneck choking the flow of production. Programming is done in languages proprietary to each robotics hardware OEM. There are only a limited number of professionals who are experts in programming industrial robots. Henceforth, programming a robot, its applications, and its development takes three times as much as the hardware.
Another major struggle is with the skill and cost. As mentioned above, only very less people are fluent in designing industrial robots, and they come with a high salary that start-ups can’t afford. But this doesn’t stop the robotic start-ups from looking for alternatives. Currently, many robotic start-ups are trying their hand at programming a robot without code. Even though it can’t be a solution for complex problems, no-code platforms have brought the development of simple applications within reach of professionals without a lot of software development training, while also allowing experienced developers to create applications at higher velocity.