Investment in robotics

The number of robotics and business automation companies has skyrocketed over the past decade. By investing in robotics, corporations are looking for more efficient production of goods and a faster production cycle. Innovative technologies are not sector- or industry-specific, permeating all industries differently. For example, augmented reality: technology consists of digital images superimposed on the real world. Its use has expanded far beyond its origins in video games, finding healthcare, retail, and manufacturing applications.

The RPA (Robotic process automation) market is recognized as the fastest growing IT field. Its growth rates are estimated at an average of 30-50% per year. The use of robots is cheaper for the enterprise than manual labor. For example, energy costs can be significantly reduced because robots can work in poorly heated rooms. A 1°C reduction in temperature is calculated to reduce energy costs by 8%. In addition, savings can be increased up to 20% by removing excess lighting in robotic areas. Robots can work an extended shift, all night, on weekends, while requiring minimum supervision. This allows switching to around-the-clock work schedules, increasing production, and accelerating the release of new products. Robots are a cost-effective alternative to manual labor. An investment in robotics pays for itself faster than an investment in personnel. Robots can be programmed to produce products on time, avoiding inventory build-up or work-in-progress.

Robotics Market Potential for Investors Consulting firm Markets and Markets predicts that the size of the robotics market, including software and systems engineering prices, will increase from $ 48.7 billion in 2019 to $ 75.6 billion by 2024. The global robotics market will grow to $160-260 billion by 2030. The average annual growth rate for this period is 9.2%. In 2017, the demand for robots with artificial intelligence was estimated at $2.8 billion, and by 2023 its size may reach $12.4 billion, that is, a growth rate of 28.7% per year. Today, the robotics industry is represented by over 500 companies producing products in four main categories: conventional industrial robots and collaborative robots (cobots), robots for stationary professional services (for example, with medical and agricultural applications), robots for mobile professional services (professional cleaning, construction, underwater activities) and automated guided vehicles (AGV) for transporting large and small loads on logistics or assembly lines.

The high growth rate is facilitated by the use of robots for personal purposes. For example, these are house cleaning, voice stations, and assistants. These machines can repeat several tasks without human intervention. It should be noted that in the robotics market, the production of robots and their integration into the production process usually act as two separate lines of business. Large robot manufacturers typically do not mount their products on the customer's production lines, do not program them, or perform commissioning. Due to the uniqueness of the production process implementation at each enterprise in detail, even when this process corresponds to the whole industry standard, there is a field of activity for applied robotic solutions' integrators. Let's consider some of the promising directions for the development of robotics in terms of investment:

Logistics (LeoTronics logistic robot TrackReitar Transport)

Although there are still the most manufacturing robots on the planet, logistics remains one of the fastest-growing branches of applied robotics. In 2021, 111 thousand autonomous logistics systems were sold globally, which is 60% more and amounted to 40% of the total sales volume in the professional service robotics market in the previous year. In monetary terms, this segment in 2021 is estimated at $ 3.7 billion, 53% more than a year earlier. Moreover: IFR experts argue that the actual sales of logistics robots are significantly higher than the official statistics, simply because not all manufacturers release their data. Warehouse logistics is one of the most actively robotic industries. The more important it is to achieve space optimization and reduce order processing time, the more actively the digitalization of business communications. And the less the customer is inclined to endure a delay in the delivery of goods, whether it is a corporate client operating with containers and trucks or a private consumer who ordered a smartphone case on the Internet - marketplace.

In addition to the transactional purchase of warehouse robots into ownership, the Robotics-as-a-Service business model (RaaS, "robots as a service") has recently been developing, when the customer pays not for robots but for completing specific tasks in a limited time frame. The service provider is engaged in the maintenance, adjustment, and maintenance of robotic machines. At the same time, the customer gets the opportunity, for example, not to hire seasonal workers during the peak period of pre-Christmas sales but to temporarily strengthen their staff with a group of freelance robots on the sidelines.

Work in public places (service robot LeoHelper from LeoTronics)

Cashier robots, concierge robots, promoter robots, driving robots, information kiosks - these devices are mainly associated in the public consciousness today with the concept of "robotics." The sector of robots for activities in public places accounted for 4% of sales of all professional service robots this year: 11 thousand units (+ 16%) and 158 million dollars (+ 28%). Again, not all manufacturers of service robots in this category submit their sales data to the International Federation of Robotics. Therefore the official sales statistics in this segment may be underestimated.

Control and maintenance (presented in the LeoTronics line as TrackReitar MineHunter, TrackReitar Observer 3D)

In all industries that require regular inspection, maintenance, and repairs in hard-to-reach hazardous places - when laying a gas pipeline, mining, oil refining - it is wiser and safer to rely on a specialized robot than on a living person. The inspection robots segment accounts for 39% of the total market for professional service robotics (in quantitative terms) - about 106 thousand units and 223 million dollars.

Emergency rescue and security systems (LeoTronics - TrackReitar Rescue)

The SGR-1 patrol robots developed by Samsung Techwin, armed with machine guns, patrolled the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea back in 2010. And the Nerekhta robotic complex created at the Degtyarev plant in 2017 became a platform for developing several army autonomous vehicles: reconnaissance, transport, combat. Robots for the military today are being improved in many countries of the world, however, for obvious reasons, there is very little reliable information about them, and concrete structures are engaged in their development and implementation.

According to the IFR, since 2001, rescue robots have successfully dealt with the consequences of 37 disasters or emergencies worldwide. And although the government traditionally acts as the customer for such systems, recently, the business has begun to use robots to ensure safety. Of course, modern robots are primarily working according to a predetermined program with minimal manifestations of genuine independence or under the direct remote control of an operator. Over time, developments in the field of artificial intelligence will likely allow robotic systems to gain true independence, at least in the space of their operational purpose. But this is no longer a question of robotics as such but of machine learning and AI.