Now that “the dust has settled” on the Automatica 2022 trade fair, it’s time to have a look back at what we learned at the event.
We had a lot of fun at Automatica a few weeks ago. It was great to catch up with so many of our partners, customers, and industry friends. At this year’s event, we got a glimpse of where the robotics industry is now, post-Covid.
The pandemic isn’t fully over yet, but we could see that the industry has started accelerating again. A few brand new trends are taking hold, and many more already-established trends are continuing to grow.
As more and more businesses are looking for even more ways to automate their processes, let’s see what trends we noticed at Automatica 2022…
That’s all for another year of Automatica!
When we arrived at the Messe Munchen exhibition center, it had been 4 years since the previous Automatica trade fair.
This is a long time in the world of robotics. While robotic technologies don’t advance as rapidly as you might think, 4 years is a long time to not have a view of the industry.
This year, we covered the event live on our blog every day. You can find all our live coverage here.
There are always many interesting and exciting developments at Automatica. This year, we were keen to find out how the industry has changed during the global Covid pandemic.
Our general impressions from the trade fair
Our general impressions were that there was a great deal of excitement at the event. Everyone was happy to see each other again after so long.
It was also clear that almost everyone has been struggling over the past 3 years, in different ways. There was a lot of new interest in robotics from companies that have never automated before. And there was an increased interest from those who have experience with automation. People were looking for more ways to get the most from their processes.
Before the event, we made some predictions about what trends we might see at the event.
Our predictions were:
Supply chain fragility will lead the discussion — We predicted that the recent shake-ups of the global supply chain would be top of mind for many people. This did seem to be true. As well as the global pandemic, which still continues in many countries, many people were talking about the impact of the current war in Ukraine.
The e-commerce revolution will spark innovation — We predicted that the increased demand for e-commerce companies would be a driving force for innovation in robotics. This was perhaps true. It’s hard to say for sure. There were certainly a lot of logistics and packaging applications around, which could show this trend.
Labor shortages will be top of mind — Labor shortages are affecting many countries right now, especially in manufacturing. This prediction certainly was correct — people are thinking about their labor shortages a lot.
Construction and food will be new application areas — We predicted we would see more construction and food industry robotic application areas. This wasn’t very obvious at Automatica 2022. While there were some food-focused applications, there weren’t many of them.
Application kits and robotics services will lead — We also predicted that attendees would be more interested in full robotic applications, not just components. This was certainly true and further highlights the importance of solutions like our range of Robotiq application kits
What other trends did we notice?
What’s hottest this year? Palletizing and logistics
One trend that was exceptionally clear was that palletizing, packaging, and other logistics applications are very in demand right now.
We saw many different logistics-focused solutions at Automatica 2022. In our Robotiq booth, attendees showed a lot of interest in our palletizing solution.
Logistics has been a core focus in most industries recently, especially following the supply chain disruptions following several global events. These disruptions have highlighted the importance of automation in logistics applications. Many companies are seeing logistics as their key first area for automating with robots.
Cobots are now moving to “non-classic” tasks
We also saw cobots firmly moving into areas that are not “classic” cobot tasks.
For example, welding is traditionally a task that has been done by industrial robots. Welding itself is a dangerous task, so it is not inherently safe, which is a core attraction of cobots.
This year, we saw several companies offering cobots for welding applications. These capitalize on the easy programming of cobots, allowing welding operators to intuitively create programs for their welding robots.
Mobile robots are just part of the furniture
At this year’s Automatica, there were perhaps more mobile robots on the show floor than ever before. And these robots weren’t confined to their booths — many of them were milling around with the attendees, providing a mobile way for exhibitors to extend their reach.
We saw drink-serving mobile robots, as well as one robot that came to find you and then spoke to you.
It’s clear that mobile robot is now so robust, exhibitors can confidently let the robots roam free!
What we expect to see in the near future of robotics
Now that Automatica 2022 is over for another year, what trends are we expecting to see in the near future?
Automatica is set to take place again next year. In particular, we are expecting to see some bolder moves at the next event. Some booths felt a bit conservative this year, perhaps because companies booked them amid the global pandemic.
At the next Automatica, we expect to see a consistent development of robotic technology. And we also expect to how the newest entrants to the market continue to develop their offerings.