Driven by increasing global competition and rising costs, the global automotive industry is set to grow from a value of $5.7bn in 2018 to almost $8.5bn in 2023, according to a report by Industry Research. The market's increased value will represent a CAGR of 10.8% during the forecast period.
Robotics has been crucial to the growth of the motor vehicle industry over the last few decades ever since the first automotive robot, UNIMATE, was installed in General Motors' New Jersey plant in 1962. Today, robotics is essential to remaining economical within the highly competitive motor manufacturing sector. As such, according to research by Bastian Solutions, 56% of industrial robot orders in North America are made by automotive manufacturers.
The six most common automotive robotic applications are: Collaborative robots (robots built to work together with other robots on assembly lines); robotic painting; robotic welding; robotic assembly; material removal; and part transfer and machine tending.
Automotive robots in manufacturing not only make the process more efficient and cost-friendly, but they can be employed to do jobs that would be unsafe or undesirable for their human counterparts.
"Robots can help prevent injuries or adverse health effects resulting from working in hazardous conditions," explained Vladimir Murashov, senior scientist at National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and a member of NIOSH's Center for Occupational Robotics Research.
"Some examples are musculoskeletal disorders due to repetitive or awkward motions, or traumatic injuries (for example, in poultry processing, where cuts are common). They can also prevent multiple hazards in emergency response situations such as chemical spills," he added.