Robotics is MEGA-Trending

By Tony

Robotics Mega TrendingAll around the world there is a huge interest in robotics. Schools everywhere and at every level are involved in some type of robotics competition. Some compete in Lego challenges, some compete in government or corporate-sponsored competitions, while others create and host their own challenges. Before I entered college, my father was concerned that the education I chose needed to be sustainable. He studied electronics and had a very successful career in computers. He always said to me, “Computers are the future, you best be prepared for the wave of computers.” I did take his advice, although not in the traditional sense as I decided to study robotics. Fast forward to today when robotics is a hot topic across the globe, from the classroom to the boardroom. Companies and students everywhere are realizing the power of automation and the value that it brings at so many levels. And their timing could not be more impeccable; robotics is definitely mega-trending.

Robotics and Automation Make Economic Sense

The off-shoring of factories and suppler bases due to low-wage competition are on a heavy decline. In an effort to localize supply chains, manufacturers are turning to robotics and implementing automated robotic systems on-site to achieve flexible, smart systems that extend across their enterprise to meet the global demands of their customers and markets. The latest trends in manufacturing are forcing companies to focus on technology. This focus is necessary to remain competitive. This is a global trend, so getting left behind is not an option. Today’s technologies are making manufacturing more fast paced than ever, and this is evident in the staggering wave of robotics coming on-shore.

Robots sharply improve quality as well as productivity to the point where they offset regional differences in labor costs and availability. In today’s economic climate, they have a major impact on the competitiveness of companies and countries alike. This means countries with greater robotic infrastructure (robots and supporting professionals) could become more attractive to manufacturers than countries with cheap labor. These types of changes will drive the competitive dynamics of the global economy.

The Wave of Robotics Adoption

According to the Boston Consulting Group, “The size of this coming wave of robotics is staggering: spending on robots worldwide is expected to jump from just over $15 billion in 2010 to about $67 billion by 2025. Driving this growth is a convergence of falling prices and performance improvements. The cost of high-quality robots and components is dropping rapidly, while CPUs are getting faster, and application programming is getting easier. As robots become cheaper, smaller, and more energy efficient, they gain flexibility and finesse, increasing the breadth of potential applications.” Let’s put these figures in perspective. According to this report, the estimated growth of the robotics market is going to more than double in the next 10 years (From an estimated $26.9B in 2015 to $66.9B in 2025). This puts the adoption rate of robots in the stratosphere.

This wave of robotics adoption is due to several factors, one of which is the pricing. The costs associated with implementing robots and automation have been on the decline. The reduced cost, along with the gains in production, makes for a very attractive proposition to companies of all sizes and industries.

Another key factor of this explosion in robotics is the robots ability to affect different industries. Technology is a key differentiator in all industries and robots have made profound impacts throughout. This contributes to the overall adoption rate across an industry. Adoption of robots within an industry creates a shift in power between competitors, where the leaders pull away and the competition either adopts similar strategies or their growth will stagnate, so the greater the impact, the wider the adoption.

Reasons for This Mega-Trend

Perhaps the most compelling reason for this mega-trend in robotics is the wide variety of applications that robots are being used in. Robots are used in everything from industrial and military applications to handling nuclear fuels to removing dangerous land mines, and filling customer orders. The robots of today are exploring the ocean floor, cleaning your house, and even cutting the grass outside. Robots are irreplaceable when it comes to delicate surgeries and help with the rehabilitation of the patient afterwards. Robots deliver medication, and can be a comforting companion. They can drive cars, fly airplanes, and work a 24 hour shift building cars without a break. Robots can perform many tasks that humans do, at a fraction of the cost, often with more accuracy.

The possibilities for these mega-trends are endless. Emerging applications will further grow the robotics market.  Newer industries such as mining and warehousing will be key robotics markets, as well as the personal service domain, where robots will take the roles of housekeeper, security guard, and personal valet. Agriculture and food processing robots are being created to reduce the cost of farming and deliver the freshest product at the lowest cost. Even the automobile will play a major role in the robotics market. Cars that can drive themselves are currently being tested, but driving the car is only the start. Today the car has a key role in households across the globe, and driving people to their destination is only one single aspect of our lives that a robot car can assist us with.

To see how companies are keeping up with technology and trends in robotics, visit our community at:

https://swym.3ds.com/#community:179

To see the report The Rise of Robotics by the Boston Consulting Group, visit:

https://www.bcgperspectives.com/content/articles/business_unit_strategy_innovation_rise_of_robotics/

Why Products Are No Longer Enough: Consumers Today Buy Experiences

By Therese

Take a minute and think about the products you manufacture. Whether it’s in the area of High Tech, Consumer Goods, Transportation & Mobility, or any other industry, at the end of the day, it’s what motivates consumers to purchase that matters the most. And what motivates them more than the actual experience?

The consumers of today buy experiences—products are no longer enough. At the 3DEXPERIENCE FORUM North America, you can learn how to go beyond delivering great products and move to creating memorable experiences for your customers. Virtual Reality presents a significant impact on your customers and use of DELMIA solutions can take them there. Find out how we can help you manage and deliver the right product experience to your customers around the world.

Manufacturers like you can provide memorable experiences for customers using DELMIA solutions. We’ll help you navigate the future by enabling innovation and collaboration across the business ecosystem. DELMIA provides businesses like yours with 3DEXPERIENCE universes to improve the real world of Global Industrial Operations. Our DELMIA experts will be on hand to show your how you can meet your customers’ expectations for a unique, highly-personal experience tailored to their needs.

3DEXPERIENCE_Forum_Vegas_PMH_Bkft_Nov14

Join Us for the 3DS Brand Leader’s Breakfast with Patrick Michel

Hear more about the latest advancements in manufacturing at the 3DEXPERIENCE Forum North America from DELMIA’s VP of User Experience and Marketing, Patrick Michel. Patrick will reveal how to go beyond delivering great products and move toward creating memorable experiences for your customers. Meet with him on Wednesday November 12 at 7 A.M. to hear how. When registering here, be sure to check the “3DS Brand Leader’s Breakfast” option.

After the forum, continue the technical conversation on Manufacturing. Go where all the experts are. Join the conversation at a DELMIA Community now!

3D Brings Mass Customization Closer

By Catherine

Written by Catherine Bolgar

Two opposing forces dominate industry: cutting costs versus satisfying customers. In the future, those forces may be less opposed.

Shoes in shop window display

Mass customization has been the big objective ever since Stan Davis coined the term in his 1987 book “Future Perfect.” Up to now, industry has fallen short of promises to really customize products. But digital technologies and the spread of manufacturing technologies such as 3D printing are making more products customizable without adding huge cost.

Everything that’s digital is, in the end, very easy to customize,” says Frank Piller, professor of management at Aachen University in Germany and co-director of the Smart Customization Group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Digital printing, for example, allows for customization too complicated or too expensive for offset printing.

Now, technology is improving and costs are declining for the next generation of digital printing: 3D printing. “It can be used for a larger range of materials. What you can make with 3D printing is extraordinary,” Dr. Piller says. “Companies can ask, ‘Now that I have this really flexible manufacturing technology, what else can I do with it?’”

On the B2B side, customization always has been necessary. Machine-tool makers traditionally had a large collection of catalog items and also a high-end engineer-to-order business. In between came mass-customized solutions, which have a predefined base of solutions whose options can be refined, Dr. Piller adds.

Very few industrial players outfit an entire factory with new machinery. “They have legacy equipment, so they need customization to interface that with new equipment, as well as for adding abilities their competitors don’t have,” he says.

To make the process easier, equipment tends to be modular, which is a common feature of mass customization. Customers have a variety of choice for a number of modules, allowing them to get what most closely fits their needs without the cost of an individually tailored solution.

Modular designs may allow for easy upgrades and add-ons, but they also risk opening a door for competitors to barge through. With an integrated product, “you have to buy it all from me,” says B. Joseph Pine, co-founder of Strategic Horizons LLP in Dellwood, Minnesota, and co-author of the book “Mass Customization: The New Frontier in Business Competition.” But forcing loyalty via integrated design is shortsighted. “The more modular the design is, the more you can deliver what’s best for the customer,” he says. “That’s going to be the winning play.”

3d printer printing white pieces

However, 3D printing and digitalization may change the need for modularity and allow truly unique solutions in the future, from machine tools to consumer goods, Dr. Piller says.

Rather than limit customer choice to the model, size and color of their shoes, a 3D printed shoe could be customized for fit as well. That might entail a one-time cost for a foot scan, Dr. Piller notes, but such a scan could then be used to make a collection of shoes.

While mass customization of consumer products hasn’t come as fast or as far as expected, one industry that’s coming around is apparel. “It’s for obvious reasons: every body is unique, so you can’t buy anything off the rack and get anything that fits anybody. It’s impossible,” Mr. Pine says.

There’s waste in the system,” he adds. Retailers discount, dump or recycle tons of unsold clothes. “They produced what people didn’t want. Mass customization allows you to produce on demand, so there’s less waste. It’s more environmentally sustainable. You eliminate shipping around the world stuff that you’re not selling.”

Rather than create a product in the hope that it will appeal to consumers, manufacturers using mass customization make a product they know a customer wants, because that customer has ordered it in the size and color the customer prefers.

“Instead of pushing what you have, the consumer pulls what he wants,” Mr. Pine says. Mass customization turns a good into a service. Goods are standardized but services are customized—delivered when, where and how a customer wants.

Businesses have to please a generation of individuals who are used to customizing everything—they don’t buy an entire CD of music, but just the songs they like, which they play in the order they like; they don’t watch broadcast television but stream the shows they want, when they want them. Facebook is a mass-customized platform—everybody has the same tools available on it, but each person makes his or her wall unique. Similarly, smart phones are a platform for mass customization because each person loads the apps he or she wants.

Technology is enabling customization to continue even after a thing is purchased. Sensors are being developed for all manner of products, from thermostats that adapt to how you use your home in order to help you reduce your heating bill, to lighting controls that allow you to create precisely the ambiance you want, to razors that adapt to the contours of your face.

This kind of customization is primarily in anything that can be digitized,” Mr. Pine says. “Sensors are going into everything.”

For more from Catherine, contributors from the Economist Intelligence Unit along with industry experts, join The Future Realities discussion.



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