Robot technology has made significant strides over the years
Published on : Monday 05-06-2023
Kiran Raju, CEO & Founder, Grene Robotics.
What is the present status of sector-wise robot penetration in India? What are the segments that are witnessing increased demand?
Robotics has the power to transform the world. The field of robotics has witnessed significant research and development, leading to the introduction of ground-breaking technologies. Today, India is considered one of the growing economies among the other Asian markets. As a result, the usage and promotion of robotics in India has become quite popular in recent times. It has improved the speed, reliability and quality of the task, which was a treading process for humans.
Robotics is being used in many areas like transport, utilities, defence, facilities, operations and lately, information technology, etc. The enterprise industry has emerged as a significant beneficiary, experiencing a surge in demand for robotic solutions. Additionally, key sectors like automotive, electronics, healthcare, and manufacturing have actively integrated robots into their production lines to streamline processes and boost efficiency.
Considering the rapid progress witnessed in the field of robotics, it is only a matter of time before we observe their widespread availability in various sectors and geographical locations. By incorporating artificial intelligence, businesses are steadily unlocking the collaborative potential of robots, propelling us closer to a future where humans and robots work together harmoniously across numerous industries.
Traditionally the automotive industry has been the main user of industrial robots. How will the electrification of mobility impact this dominance?
Traditionally, the automotive sector has been a major user of industrial robots, benefiting from their precision and automation capabilities in various manufacturing processes.
However, the electrification of mobility is set to have a profound impact on industrial robots. With the shift towards electric vehicles and other forms of electrified transportation, the demand for industrial robots is expected to soar. During my time working with DARPA, I worked on a project on autonomous vehicles and that is when I realised that the future of organisations will be driven by autonomy, automation and human-machine co-existence.
Moving forward, manufacturers will require robots to handle increased production capacity for electric vehicles and their components. This transition may involve reconfiguring production lines to accommodate the specific requirements of electric vehicle manufacturing, such as battery assembly and electric motor production. As automation technologies advance, collaborative robots (cobots), autonomous mobile robots, and advanced vision systems will play a vital role in enhancing efficiency and productivity.
Moreover, the focus on sustainability and energy efficiency in electric mobility will drive the development of more energy-efficient robotic systems. As a result, there will be a need for workforce training and upskilling programs to ensure that workers can effectively operate, program, and maintain these robots.
The Covid pandemic struck a blow for digital transformation. Has this led to increased demand for robotic automation?
The Covid-19 pandemic has definitely accelerated the need for digital transformation, resulting in a heightened demand for robotic automation.
Businesses worldwide have grappled with the challenges posed by the pandemic, including social distancing measures and remote work, prompting a realisation of the crucial role automation plays in ensuring productivity and operational continuity.
Robotic automation has emerged as a viable and effective solution to address these challenges. It possesses the ability to perform repetitive tasks with unparalleled precision and consistency, thereby reducing the reliance on direct human interaction. Industries such as manufacturing, retailing, and healthcare, where physical distancing has become paramount, have experienced a surge in the demand for robots. These versatile machines have been deployed across various functions such as assembly, packaging, disinfection, and even the delivery of vital medical supplies.
At our platform, we offer Intelligent Process Automation as a Service (IPAAS), utilising a proprietary AI platform fortified by machine learning algorithms and cognitive computing technologies. This enables the development and deployment of autonomous processes, freeing humans to focus on more meaningful work while mundane tasks are expertly handled by machines. Our solution boasts impressive advantages, with business processes operating at four times the speed of human users, at half the cost, and achieving a remarkable user adoption rate of over 95%.
How is the entry of cobots and AMRs/AGVs changing the overall scenario of robotic automation in the manufacturing industry?
Robot technology has made significant strides over the years, boasting improvements in various aspects such as increased payloads, greater speeds, enhanced accuracy and repeatability, more intuitive programming methods, and seamless integration with technologies like vision systems. Advancements in AI, machine learning, and collaborative robot (cobot) technologies have further propelled the role of robots in shaping the future of manufacturing and addressing industry challenges. In fact, a survey projects that the global market for collaborative robots will witness a staggering growth of $16,387.3 million by 2028.
Undoubtedly, the introduction of cobots and Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs)/Autonomous Guided Vehicles (AGVs) is revolutionising the manufacturing industry, fostering a more flexible, efficient, and responsive automation landscape. Cobots excel in promoting human-robot collaboration, harnessing the strengths of both parties to boost productivity and handle intricate tasks. On the other hand, AMRs/AGVs are transforming material handling processes by minimising manual labour, reducing errors, and optimising overall efficiency. These advancements have allowed companies to adapt to evolving production needs, streamline workflows, and achieve enhanced productivity.
As more and more technologies are evolving, manufacturers are empowered to meet industry demands by embracing automation, driving progress, and charting the course for the future of manufacturing.
While robots are gaining in versatility with the integration of machine vision and greater use of AI/ML capabilities, is there a supporting infrastructure in terms of skills and system integrators?
At Grene Robotics, we focus on building solutions that can be deployed quickly. When you have plug-and-play integration, the role of system integrators will diminish over time. Moreover, I think there's a lot of innovation happening in India right now in terms of building tech skills by Indian education start-ups, as well as global online learning companies.
Automation solutions that we provide are actually built to reduce the reliance on specialised tech talent over time, while still delivering a zero-touch stakeholder journey.
Will the recent emphasis on manufacturing incentives for the electronics industry via PLI schemes lead to greater demand for robotic solutions?
Post-pandemic, to enhance productivity and efficiency in the manufacturing sector, businesses worldwide have embraced Industry 4.0, which encompasses smart manufacturing and integrates advanced technologies like automation, robotics, artificial intelligence (AI), and the Internet of Things (IoT).
The Production-Linked Incentive (PLI) initiative by the government is to enable and empower Indian enterprises to expand their operations, adopt automation solutions such as cobots, and effectively compete in the global marketplace. The PLI scheme represents a significant stride towards boosting the Indian economy.
The automation drive facilitated by the PLI scheme is expected to not only bolster production but also increase the export of manufactured goods from India. The scheme offers additional incentives to companies that achieve specific export targets, thereby supporting Indian manufacturers in becoming more competitive globally.
(The views expressed in interviews are personal, not necessarily of the organisations represented)
Kiran Raju brings years of knowledge and experience in autonomous technologies and holds patents for Automated Presence Status, Presence Status-Based Communication Filtration and Authentic-based Combination of Inputs. Kiran built the world’s highest-altitude research centre at 17,664 ft for DRDO which is also mentioned in the Guinness Book of World records.
According to Kiran, the 5th IR has the potential to usher in a new socio-economic era creating infinite opportunities for humanity, and for a better planet. Robots will help humans align returns on investment (RoI) with purpose, but more than ever, it will assist humans through forward-leaning technologies.