May 27, 2021

Cobot MachineTending400x275A new report from research firm ABI Research predicts that the cobot market will grow substantially over the next decade. With a global valuation of $475 million in 2020 and expansion to $600 million this year, BI said the market will surge to $8 billion by 2030, with a compound annual growth rate of 32.5%.

Collaborative robots are attracting attention and investment due to their ease of use, redeployability, and convenience to end-users who struggle to afford more traditional forms of automation, ABI said in a statement. “The most direct benefit of cobots is not in their ability to collaborate with humans,” said Rian Whitton, principal analyst at ABI Research. “Rather, it is in their relative ease of use, improved interface, and the ability of end-users to redeploy them for different tasks.” Whitton said this has made them popular with small and midsize enterprises (SMEs), which value flexibility and incremental automation where maintenance costs are not prohibitive.

The research firm said Universal Robots is currently the dominant player in the cobot market, with 50% of total shipments, and posting $219 million in revenue in 2020. Challengers such as FANUC, ABB, and others are beginning to catch up after initially lagging in the space, ABI added.

“The barriers between cobots and standard industrial robots are beginning to break down, as many vendors are experimenting with dual-mode robots that can have a cobot and industrial mode,” said Whitton. “What is more, cobots are beginning to develop heavier payloads, in line with evolving regulations.” The research firm projects that cobots will significantly expand the potential for automation for SMEs, while enabling large vendors to develop more flexible production lines based on movable platforms that don’t require safety fencing. This will allow major industrial automation vendors to enjoy a greater share of the market as they utilize existing partnerships and pour more resources into new cobot products.

The projections are part of ABI Research’s new Cobots for Flexible Automation analysis report, which is part of the company’s Industrial, Commercial & Collaborative Robotics research service.