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Industrial Robotics: A Ticket for India to Become the Global Economic Powerhouse

Sujith Vasudevan, Assistant Editor, CIO Insider | Tuesday, 1 September, 2020
Sujith Vasudevan, Assistant Editor, CIO Insider

It’s quite obvious. If we look at the global powerhouse economies like China, US, Japan, and Germany, something that sets them apart from the developing countries is the higher proportion of automation in their manufacturing sector and abundance of industrial robots deployed across their industrial ecosystem. This is poised to increase moving forward, as the global industrial robots market size is expected to reach $66.48 billion by 2027, exhibiting a CAGR of 15.1 percent. It sure is a wakeup call for India, one of the fastest growing economies in the world. However, if the numbers are anything to go by, it’s quite lucid that the subcontinent is reading this trend well enough. The Indian Industrial Robotics market was evaluated at 4,564 units in 2018 and is estimated to grow at 13.3 percent CAGR from 2019-2024. It’s surely not an explosion, but implicates a transformation in the making, and we are yet to see how well the visions like Make-in-India and Atmanirbhar Bharat are going to influence this trend. Let’s look at some of the latest trends in industrial robotics.

Smarter Robots
Thanks to the data fed over the years in terms of bolstering the artificial intelligence capabilities of robots, the robots are getting smarter and will continue to do so. In addition, the interactive trends in programming and installation of robots is also impacting in terms of robots becoming smarter. The arrival of digital sensors and specially designed intelligent software enables ‘direct teaching methods’ or in other words, programming by demonstration. The humans can simply show the task that a robot is supposed to perform through robot arms and hand-guides, while the dedicated smart software converts this data into a digital program. In the future, we are looking forward to more sophisticated methods like video demonstration, and in turn even smarter robots.

Robots Improving Healthcare Accuracy
Robots in healthcare is an ages-old concept. But the idea always had stumbling blocks in the forms of doctor-patient connection and sensitivity of the market. Patients trust doctors more than machines. The industry had no alternative to go by other than infusing the robots with the essence of this connection. The artificial intelligence, and data fed over the years are now enabling to transform industrial robots into precision machines for

surgery and beyond.

From IoT enabled health monitoring bugs to autonomous robotic trauma care systems for treating patients in remote locations, healthcare robotics have come a long way in quick time. The companies like Drucare are contributing towards this transformation in India, aiming to further improve patient interaction in the front office, in addition to helping providers in infectious wards.

Cobots Redefining Industrial Workplaces
The man-machine collaboration and the increased focus on what each one of them does best in an optimized manner have become an excellent avenue for creating a sustainable, ergonomic future. In addition, the driving factors of increased adoption of cobots in workplaces also include the reduction in maintenance cost, improved level of standardization, reduced power consumption, and safer protection of intellectual property.

The arrival of 5G in India will enable manufacturers to further enhance their RPA capabilities

The recent transformation at Bajaj is an excellent example of this growing trend. The once strenuous, mundane processes handled by many women in Bajaj Auto now boast of cobots, with employees trained to handle the cobots themselves, leading to more productivity and standardization of deliverable, while keeping the headcount intact.

Smart Manufacturing
Industrial automation is, however, never confined to cobots. Smart manufacturing refers to a broad category of industrial production that employs computer-integrated manufacturing, a whole level of adaptability & room for rapid design changes, highly flexible workforce training, and much more. The industrial automation in India is led by global giants like ABB and YASKAWA. In an interview with CIO Insider, Ajay Gurjar, COO - Robotics Division, YASKAWA India, asserts, “To adopt RPA, it is important for organizations to re-imagine processes using design-thinking principles to create winning customer experiences and end-to-end solutions while managing compliance and governance.”

The arrival of 5G in India will enable manufacturers to further enhance their RPA capabilities, as 5G will allow them to drastically improve latency and open a channel for real-time communication on a much larger scale.

Increase in Drone’s Use-Cases
The sky-rocketing Drones adoption curve is nothing new. Although, India still is on the top end of the drone import index. But it’s a great omen that the union government has an enhanced vision of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles through the Make-in-India program. It’s no wonder India is witnessing an increased adoption of UAVs, driven by the government bodies. The Railway Protection Force (RPF) has already procured a total of nine drones at a cost of Rs. 31.87 Lakhs that will be deployed across South Eastern Railway, Central Railway, Modern Coaching Factory, Raebareli, and South Western Railway. As per the department, this is only the tip of the iceberg, as RPF plans to further procure 17 more drones in the near future at an estimated cost of Rs.97.52 Lakhs.

The flaring trend in robotics adoption in India is a sure bet that the country is on the right track in terms of growth in the sector. This in combination with government’s iconic programs and initiatives like Make-in-India and Atmanirbhar Bharat has the potential to push India further in the list of developed, economic powerhouses. It’s appreciable the way the government is maneuvering forward, the recent AatmaNirbhar Bharat App Innovation Challenge by Niti Aayog to thrive the creative mindset of youth and enable them develop creative solutions that can drive economy is a great start and a great example. The baton is surely in the hands of the Indian manufacturing industry!

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