As traditional, fossil fuel-based methods of manufacturing give way to digitized factory floors and communication systems, the advanced manufacturing and automation space is witnessing frenzied R&D activity. The disruption caused by Industry 4.0 and Industrial Internet of Things has prompted manufacturers across industries to enthusiastically adopt advanced automation solutions like robotics and metal 3D printing, which can significantly hasten production and lower the costs of manufacturing.
Top Technologies in Advanced Manufacturing and Automation, 2017 is part of Frost & Sullivan’s TechVision (Advanced Manufacturing Automation) Growth Partnership Service program. The study covers the technologies of robotic exoskeletons, metal 3D printing, computer integrated manufacturing, nano 3D printing, collaborative industrial robots, friction stir welding/solid state joining, magnetic levitation (Maglev), composite 3D printing, roll-to-roll manufacturing and agile robots. These are expected to have the highest near- to medium-term impact in a variety of market segments, including automotive, healthcare, consumer electronics, aerospace and transportation.
“Developments in 3D printing materials, metal inks, printing techniques and equipment design are driving the global uptake of metal 3D printing,” said Frost & Sullivan TechVision Research Analyst Ranjana Lakshmi Venkatesh Kumar. “R&D can enhance metal 3D printers’ ability to print high-strength, lightweight prototypes and parts at low costs, making these printers highly relevant in the aerospace and automotive sectors.”
Robotics also has experienced multiple advancements over the past year. While there is a large market for many forms of robots, collaborative robots have the highest impact. Various manufacturers are investing in the technology to create an automated and safe human-machine interaction facility.
“Collaborative robots are gaining traction due to their ability to work alongside humans, ensure worker safety and integrate with existing environments,” noted Frost & Sullivan TechVision Research Analyst Varun Babu. “R&D efforts to improve the level of interactivity and customization will bolster the adoption rates of collaborative robots, particularly in automotive, aerospace, logistics and warehousing, healthcare, and consumer electronics industries.”
Other important applications of robotics in advanced automation are robotic exoskeleton and agile robots. While the former is a wearable robotic device that can increase the strength and mobility of the wearer, the latter are smart robots that offer superior agility, efficiency and uptime. Overall, with greater government support and deeper convergence, advanced manufacturing and automation solutions could well be the engines of Industry 4.0.
Frost & Sullivan's global TechVision practice is focused on innovation, disruption and convergence, and provides a variety of technology-based alerts, newsletters and research services as well as growth consulting services. Its premier offering, the TechVision program, identifies and evaluates the most valuable emerging and disruptive technologies enabling products with near-term potential. A unique feature of the TechVision program is an annual selection of 50 technologies that can generate convergence scenarios, possibly disrupt the innovation landscape, and drive transformational growth.
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Top Technologies in Advanced Manufacturing and Automation, 2017 - D7C0