Industrial automation – robotics, in particular – is used by more and more companies around the world. When people expect more products to reach the market faster and in a more profitable manner, industrial robots are no longer just for the dullest, dirtiest and most dangerous jobs: instead, they are a key competitive edge in several industries. Meanwhile, the developing technology and increased intelligence of robots in terms of mobility and sight promote the expansion of automation into new fields in industry and the handling of goods, for example.
Up until 2016, the turnover from industrial robotics represented 75 % of the entire turnover from robotics, and its share is expected to increase two digits every year, first and foremost thanks to the automobile industry (Robotics Trends, Frank Tobe, 2016). Robotics plays a major role in the development of industrial automation as well. Globally, China is the trendsetter. Another important development trend is replacing old robots with collaborative robots, which are safe, quick to commission and can be trained.
Despite the opportunities offered by the continuous development, Europe is lagging slightly behind in investments to automation that uses robotics, with the exception of Germany. Finland is no exception from this rule. According to a robotics study by Deloitte, robotics investments in Finland do not even reach the European level, despite the general technological expertise (Deloitte RPA survey, 2017). In Finland, robotics has mainly been tested in pilot projects. Successful pilot projects motivate companies to continue their tests. According to the survey, 78 % of all companies that utilise robotics believe that they will clearly increase the related investments in the next three years.
Robotics has a short repayment period, sometimes even less than a year. Taking into account this and the fact that robots improve job satisfaction because there are less routine tasks to be taken care of, there is a clear need to step up the game. There is a threat that if cost-efficient and quick to commission automation is not utilised more effectively, Finland will lag behind the rest of the world in terms of performance.
Comatec has identified the global trends and edited its service portfolio to cater for the increased need for automation. The common denominator for Comatec’s expertise and services is the Automation Solutions business segment. We combine vehicle technology, our expertise in embedded systems, robotics and production line automation, industrial automation and the supporting expertise in the Comatec design teams into an entity that enables us to respond to the increased demands of our customers in comprehensive automation deliveries.
“Several megatrends and technological breakthroughs support the development and create pressure within our clientele to more effectively utilise automation and robotics. The development of hybrid technology, battery technology and related vehicle technology is a good example of this. The need to increase the degree of automation in the industries of several of our customers should not be overlooked either,” says Miikka Riittinen, Vice President, Automation Solutions.
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TEXT: MARIA UURTO