Despite the rate of automation increases in the French market, robots are still underrepresented in terms of benefits and capacities offered. An initiative dedicated to speed up the adoption of industrial robots in France is Innorobo, an exhibition that took place at the Docks of Paris, May 16-18.
During these three days, industry professionals and people with an interest in robotics were able to meet and exchange knowledge around the latest innovations and products in the industrial automation sector. The trade show also featured a conference with some of the thought leaders in the field; one of them Esben Østergaard, Universal Robots’ CTO and founder, who invented the first commercially viable collaborative robot – or simply cobot – able to work alongside people. He was present to co-host a conference entitled "Collaborative robotics: the vision of a world-leading pioneer" with the Odense Robotics cluster. A conference during which the cobot pioneer shared his vision of robotics and the process that led him to develop collaborative robots; An accessible-to-all, flexible, easily programmable and inexpensive automation technology. Although robotics always generates interest, it often comes with worries about the possible impact on employment.
ROBOTICS BEYOND PREJUDICE
The former minister himself had previously promoted automation with the launch of "France Robots Initiatives" that pledged considerable financial support to the industry from public and private sources.
At the time of the balance sheet and according to Constant Bernard, President of the Symop, (The Association of Production Technologies and Machines), 80 companies now attend the Robot StartPME program aiming to promote the purchase of a first robot, the initial objective, however, was to include 250 companies.
In this context, it is difficult not to notice the importance of an exhibition like Innorobo to change attitudes and catch up. A recent study by Technavio stated that the global market for collaborative robots is expected to grow at an average annual growth rate (CAGR) of more than 60% from 2017 to 2021 and could reach, at the end of this period, $ 2.1 billion. This clearly shows the place that robotics already holds in the industry in other countries.
CTO and founder of Universal Robots, Esben Østergaard, provided his vision of Industry 5.0 at Innorobo in Paris.
France should look into robotics.
CTO and founder of Universal Robots, Esben Østergaard, (left) with former minister of Industrial Renewal, Arnaud Montebourg.
Applications as a lever?
What is convenient with robotics is that it never hinders the creativity of mankind; For example, Smart Robots markets an application that, with the help of a camera connected directly to the robot, detects the presence of a person, to enable it to control the robotic arm remotely. Thus, based on gestures, the machine operator is able to manipulate the robot without touching it. According to Accenture Consulting, 85% of manufacturers consider that "connected labor" will be common in their production processes by 2020. So, while robots excel in the manufacture of standard products, standardized processes, and in high production volumes, adding this little "something special" for each product is a challenge, in which robots need guidance.
Industry players must, therefore, realize that automation will not make their factories disappear, but will change their shape. Though the robot may be seen as a threat, it is ultimately the guarantor of maintaining an activity. It allows bringing humanity back into the production, a trend that is already called "Industry 5.0" or collaborative industries.
Universal Robots is distributed in France by FIT-SECMI, Hmi MBS, and Sysaxes, locate them on our distributor page.