Are you an SME or startup looking at the possibility of deploying industrial robots in 2022? If so, then there is every reason to be excited about recent developments in industrial robotics. More than ever, SMEs can start looking at industrial robotics to solve their production challenges. Here is why.
1. Industrial Robotics Powering Industry 4.0
For five years, emerging robotics solutions for businesses have appeared on the annual Gartner hype cycle. Recent industry stats from different sources indicate that robot sales have increased in the past five years. Why is this?
There is consensus among industry experts that adopting automation solutions like industrial robots will feature heavily as industry 4.0 takes shape. The increased adoption of robots can be attributed to the emergence of low-cost solutions, SME adoption, and emerging robot applications.
These developments are good news for SMEs looking to catch up with big players or compete through automation. The industry 4.0 wave is centered around widespread automation. In 2022, SMEs will enjoy better access to cutting-edge industrial robotics, leading to higher adoption numbers in the sector.
2. Non-Traditional Applications for Industrial Robots
Traditionally, industrial robots have been relied upon in large-scale manufacturing industries like the automotive and assembly industry. However, recent developments show that new, non-traditional applications are emerging for industrial robots. For instance, logistics companies involved in e-commerce are turning to industrial robots to increase efficiency.
The expansion of application areas and adoption of industrial robots in the non-traditional sector can be attributed to new, more innovative industrial robots coming to market. New industrial robots are more versatile, meaning they can be used in various ways. Some are even made to be altered, moved around, or reprogrammed as operational needs change.
3. Industrial Robots are becoming Cheaper to Buy and Run
A decade or so ago, buying and running industrial robots was the preserve of the most prominent players with the financial muscle to purchase or lease them. This meant that smaller players such as SMEs who wanted to get into the industry and compete were disadvantaged. However, this will change as cheaper, more economical industrial robots made for the SME sector come to market.
Look around today, and you will see many emerging robotic solutions that cost not more than a few thousand dollars and cost even less to run. These new industrial robots are smaller, affordable, and consume less power than the mammoth industrial robots of the past. In 2022, we will see more of these showing up at industry events and tradeshows—time for SMEs to shop for industrial robots and compete.
4. Collaborative Robots Will Feature Heavily
Traditional robots are not made to be used in standard working setups . They require safety fencing and other installations to operate safely and efficiently. Most SMEs do not have the resources to deploy them because their operational configurations usually need human workers.
Collaborative robots are new industrial robots designed with safety and versatility, making them ideal for SMEs. Collaborative robots can be deployed alongside humans in typical working environments. They do not require safety fencing. Human operators can use them for very specialized operations, a step above standard work machines.
For the last few years, cobots have enjoyed adoption in the SME sector and will feature heavily in 2022. Already, traditional robot manufacturers have recognized their potential and gotten in on the act. Still, it is the smaller, new robot manufacturers winning. Consider buying a cobot if you will be shopping for industrial robots in 2022.
5. Robots Are Becoming Smarter and More Versatile
Most people don’t associate intelligence or versatility with industrial robots mainly because traditional industrial robots are designed to do one or two tasks. However, there is a demand for robots that can take advantage of AI and ML to be more efficient at what they do and more versatile.
Newer robots are likely to be more intelligent and support a more comprehensive range of applications. This is a welcome development for SMEs because it means they can use their robots in various ways to save costs. At the same time, intelligent robots are more efficient because they can refine their arm movements for faster task completion.
6. Robots Will Become Easier to Use and Program
The consensus among industry experts is that traditional robots are too complicated. Trained experts who usually charge high rates must install and program a conventional robot. According to the International Federation for Robotics, modern robots are user-friendly. We already see this with new cobots coming to market with simple graphical programming interfaces.
For SMEs looking for industrial robots, the ability to install, run and program industrial robots without employing expensive robot engineers is a welcome development. It means fewer costs, more freedom, and better experiences running industrial robots. Modern collaborative robots are made with human-centered design principles for ease of use and better experiences.
7. A Revolution at The End of Arm Tooling Space
Many see the end of arm tooling as the heart of any industrial robot setup because it is the part that does the actual work. Traditionally, most robot adopters had to design bespoke end of arm tooling to fit their configuration or pay the manufacturer to attach specific EOATs to their robots. However, this has changed in recent years as compact, versatile robots made for SMEs come to market.
There is a revolution in the EOAT industry where several manufacturers make all kinds of EOATs and sell them as individual products. From plastic molding EOATs to simple gripping tools compatible with general-purpose robot arms. If you need to do something with your robot, you can be sure that there is an EOAT out there that can do it.
A welcome development to look forward to in 2022 is the emergence of the so-called “open industrial robot.” These are robots compatible with the end of arm tooling from other manufacturers, much like computer peripherals are cross-compatible. Soon, you will be able to purchase any industrial robot arm and use any EOAT you buy or use custom 3d printed ones.
There is every reason to be excited if you are an SME or company looking to automate with industrial robots in 2022. We already see the fruits of industry 4.0 in the robotics industry, and you, as an SME, are at the center of it. Start looking around and attending upcoming industry events to see what is offered.
We advise SMEs shopping for industrial robots to pay close attention to what emerging players are showcasing. These smaller or new players bring innovative solutions made for SMEs like you.
Global Crypto Market Cap Threatens to Break Below Current 2022 Lows
The global cryptocurrency market capitalization topped during the first half of November 2021, and since then it has been on a one-way ride towards the downside. With the entire market currently trading at approximately 35% below all-time highs, many traders are now wondering whether the sellers are already exhausted, meaning that an upward shift is due in the near future, or whether the bear market still has room to go.
In such a challenging environment, trading or investing in crypto is tricky, making it difficult for traders/investors to time the market correctly, and spot key support/resistance areas on the chart. All of the variables that drove valuations higher between 2020-2021 (fiscal/monetary stimulus, weaker fiat currencies, and appetite for riskier assets) have reversed, leaving bulls stumbling for the exit.
Bitcoin weakens below $40k
Speaking of Bitcoin, the $38,000 area is regarded as key support, which might be one of the reasons why the price is still trading around it. The late-March 2022 rally failed to gather pace and now BTC finds itself trading close to the yearly lows.
Things are not looking encouraging, not just because Bitcoin lost 40% from its peak, but also based on the market share. During broad crypto selling, the BTC market dominance increased in past cycles. It doesn’t seem to be the case now, as the figure has stabilized around 42% since mid-2021. Investors want to keep a diversified exposure even during a downturn, and this is a clear signal that Bitcoin’s safe-haven status is weakening.
Major altcoins not showing signs of strength
Anyone who is just beginning to learn how to trade cryptocurrencies should know that this is an environment where caution is advised. Bitcoin aside, things are not looking very good for the altcoins sector as well. Based on the opening price at the beginning of 2022, Ethereum is down 24%, Binance Coin -26% and other tokens such as Solana are posting losses above 50%.
There this might not be the time for buy and hold, considering that valuations might be even more attractive in the future. It is possible, however, to take advantage of what retail brokerages are offering in terms of crypto trading benefits. With derivatives based on cryptocurrencies, short-selling is a viable option, making it possible to take advantage of bearish conditions.
Inflation and broad risk appetite
Rising inflation around the world set a chain of events in motion, and these events are clearly not in favor of crypto bulls. Central banks are forced to step in and normalize monetary policies in developed countries, for price increases to diminish towards their target of around 2%.
Additionally, fiscal spending is taking a few steps back, as governments need to pay higher interest on new debt or refinancing operations. During a time of rising prices, private and institutional investors need to make concessions and prioritize spending.
In such an environment, the interest in volatile assets such as crypto is very low, which explains the lack of momentum. For the time being, global capitalization is trading around $1.72 trillion and threatens to break below the 2022 low of $1.64 trillion. Until the global economy receives a new round of stimulus, there appears to be little hope for a strong bounce back to a bull run.
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