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What’s Next for Manufacturing

Manufacturing Trends: 2021

Reestablishing Supply Chains with Cobots in Manufacturing

When we look at manufacturing trends, 2021 forecasts suggest that one area which might see continued growth and expanded ability to support factory workers—and potentially even improve their working conditions—are Collaborative Robots or “Cobots.” In manufacturing settings, these easy-to-program and relatively inexpensive automated equipment platforms can help maintain output and improve ROI—all without eliminating jobs as they are still dependent on human interaction.

One bright spot in the economic outlook for 2021 is the likely expansion of Cobots in manufacturing. At Sugatsune, we are interested in the potential of this technology, both in its possible usefulness in our own processes and as a platform that may have use for Sugatsune hardware components.

Today we’re going to look at the manufacturing trends 2021 promises to bring us in terms of one specific technology that Sugatsune is poised to support: Cobots in manufacturing applications.

2020 in Review

Let’s take a look at our forecasted manufacturing trends for 2021 by first exploring where we have been in this tumultuous year.

Looking back on the past 12 months, manufacturing in the U.S. faced many challenges even before COVID-19. Now as we approach the close of 2020, supply chains have been flipped upside down and just about every business producing machines and automation equipment has seen demand drop as many plants remain idle. Aside from pharmaceuticals, healthcare, and those companies that have benefited from all those virtual meetings, profits will end down in 2020. This means investments from many to purchase new machinery will be delayed at the very least.

Survival Mode

The common objective for these companies is to survive the pandemic and search for ways to regain output in the “new normal” that we are all living in. Many have implemented PPEs, social distancing, and work from home to help curb the spread of COVID-19, while others have invested in some automation equipment that can reduce the number of workers required to operate. Forrester reported that the robotics industry has slowed even further in 2020 but that it appears there are still areas in factory automation that can see growth—especially in the short term.

Manufacturing Trends in 2021: Uncertainty Will Continue

Based on the present outlook of manufacturing trends, 2021 promises to be a year of uncertainty and reconfiguration of processes as the economy struggles with COVID-related instabilities. Shortages and ongoing disruptions to supply chains look set to grow worse. The overall economic outlook is promising but high-risk, and the success or failure of individual businesses will depend heavily on their resiliency and adaptability.

Cobots in Manufacturing Improve Efficiency, Workplace Safety While Preserving Jobs

With Cobots, because much of the actual work tasks are being performed robotically, the new workflows allow humans to distance themselves, making workplaces less vulnerable to spreading COVID-19 or other viruses (with potential gains in employee attendance that are not to be understated).

Cobots in manufacturing also make sense in that they can easily be modified to adjust for changes in demand, something which many fully automated factories struggle with.

Think about the number of industries that can experience a positive impact with the implementation of Cobots: The healthcare industry, which is faced with constant safety challenges for front-line workers, has shown how Cobots in manufacturing can help mitigate many risks. Forward-thinking companies that are looking for ways to regain their production and have their workforce return safely also stand to benefit. This presents a large opportunity for manufacturers of Cobots and has driven the need for unique hardware solutions to connect and facilitate their movements.

Sugatsune America: Innovating Collaboratively

Sugatsune stands ready to support the oncoming trend of Cobots in manufacturing. This is just one of the countless areas we look to as we continually hone our craft, improve our processes, and add products that our customers need. Based on current manufacturing trends, 2021 will be a good year for Cobots in manufacturing, and we are excited about it.

About Sugatsune America, Inc.

With more than 25% of its global associates in Research and Development, Sugatsune continues to develop solutions to safely and conveniently connect the future in manufacturing. Inspired by its Motion Design Tech® concept, engineers work diligently with original equipment manufacturers to develop customized hardware solutions that facilitate the operation of new products. Visit us at www.sugatsune.com or contact our technical experts at (800) 562-5267 to find out how Sugatsune America, Inc., can help you bring your innovation to life.

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