The Rise of Industrial and Collaborative Robots in the Electronics Industry
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In the production of electronic products, both industrial robots and collaborative robots are now finding their place. Historically, the tight tolerances and delicate nature of electronics made robotic automation difficult, but recent advances in robotic technology are enabling electronics manufacturers to realize the advantages of process automation.
The highly competitive electronics industry, after realizing the potential productivity gains of using robots, have begun adopting them rapidly.
The Growth of Robotic Technology in the Electronics Industry
The electronics industry is becoming one of the largest segments of the robotics industry in the world. According to the most recent RIA statistics on global robot shipments, the number of robots shipped in the electronics industry grew 22% in 2018 over 2017. According to the International Federation of Robotics (IFR) 2018 World Robotics 2018 Report, the electronics industry now nearly holds as much total market share of industrial robots as the automotive industry, with the 32% and 33% of total supply, respectively.
For decades, demand from the automotive industry has been the primary growth driver of robot shipments around the world. Now, the electronics industry is growing quickly and may even unseat the automotive industry as the largest user of robotic technology in the coming years.
Robotic technology, both industrial robots and collaborative robots, offer many benefits in production for electronics manufacturers and are now being leveraged in several ways.
The Role of Robots in the Electronics Industry
As robots have become advanced enough to handle small, delicate parts with precision, their main appeal has been their ability to dramatically increase throughput to keep unit costs low. Robots move quickly with extremely high levels of uptime and minimal waste, meaning they produce more products over longer periods of time with less defects with quick ROI. It’s understandable, then, why the electronics industry is adopting robots at a rapid pace.
Robots are used in many ways in the electronics industry. Some of the most common applications include:
- Inspection and testing
- Material handling
While robots may be deployed in many unique ways, the few mentioned above are among the most common. In today’s electronics manufacturing environment, robots can be used at practically any stage of production.
As robots have become more and advanced, they’ve proven their ROI and productivity potential to manufacturers in the electronics industry. Rapid adoption has followed as manufacturers compete to be more productive and undercut the prices of their competitors. Robotic technology will continue to pervade electronics manufacturing in the foreseeable future, creating higher levels of automation in production and skyrocketing demand for industrial and collaborative robots.
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