Service robots used for more manufacturing applications

The market for service robots are projected to see strong growth for the foreseeable future and are being used for new manufacturing applications as they prove their profitability for companies.
By Robotic Industries Association (RIA) May 3, 2018

While service robots may not be deployed as widely as industrial or collaborative robots, the number of industries they’re popping up in is expanding rapidly. This quick growth in the different types of service robots is accompanied by strong future growth projections.

The future of service robots, both professional and personal service robots, looks bright. They are poised to become a regular part of our lives over the coming years. But what are service robots, and what are they used for?

Professional service robots are used outside of the home and traditional manufacturing scenarios. They automate commercial processes that may or may not be within the industrial sector. The International Federation of Robotics (IFR) predicts an average growth rate of 20 to 25% between 2018 and 2020 for the professional service robots market, reaching $27 billion in value.

Personal service robots, on the other hand, are consumer-facing robots for automating tasks, mostly within the home. This could include things like autonomous vacuum cleaners or window cleaners. This is a much smaller segment of service robots, but the IFR still predicts the market to be worth $11 billion by 2020.

Service robot application types

Focusing on professional service robots, the far more mature of the two types of service robots, there are a number of different ways in which they’re being deployed.

Logistics applications, such as automated guided vehicles (AGVs), represent the largest portion of the professional service robots market. These robots are typically used to move goods within a warehouse to improve uptime and efficiency.

Mobile robot: The Vecna QC Tugger is an autonomous tugger that can pull carts and hold freight. A trailer hitch works with most tugger trailer-hitch connections. It is built on the same autonomous platform as QC Bots. Courtesy: VecnaInterestingly, public relations is the next largest industry deploying professional service robots. These robots take many forms—anything from mobile retail robots to humanoid customer service robots are being used to reduce operational expenses while improving the customer’s overall experience.

In addition to logistics and public relations, professional service robots include exoskeletons in rehabilitation centers, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in defense applications, field robotics in agriculture and farming, diagnostic robots in medicine, and building robots for construction applications.

Professional service robots are used in a wide range of industries. As the technology matures, they will be used in other industries.

The market for service robots will see strong growth for the foreseeable future. They’re tackling new applications every day. As they continue to prove to be profitable for companies, they will become a more common part of everyday lives.

This article originally appeared on the Robotics Online BlogRobotic Industries Association (RIA) is a part of the Association for Advancing Automation (A3), a CFE Media content partner. Edited by Chris Vavra, production editor, Control Engineering, CFE Media, cvavra@cfemedia.com.