ManufacturingFebruary 29, 2024

Has Modern Robotics Redefined the Game for SMBs?

Change is inevitable, and within the realm of robotics for SMBs, transformation is now the norm. What was once a daunting prospect is undergoing a remarkable shift.
Avatar Buddharatn Ratawal

In the vibrant manufacturing landscape, where industry giants like Amazon and Ford seamlessly integrate robotics and automation, small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) find themselves on the sidelines, contemplating their entry into this transformative arena.

Robotics business costs

Perceived high costs have been a long-standing suspect behind SMBs’ reluctance to adopt robotics. However, the narrative is evolving. Advancements in technology, economies of scale, and innovative solutions are collectively dismantling the once formidable cost barriers. In fact, the cost of industrial robots is expected to decrease to less than $11,000 per unit by 2025—a stark comparison to the average cost of more than $80,000 20 years ago. Yet, it’s not just about the dollars and cents. SMB manufacturers are also concerned about potential disruptions that robotics might usher in.

The question that lingers is, how grounded are these fears in the current landscape? In addition, are SMBs still overestimating the financial hurdle?

How has the robotics landscape shifted for SMBs?

Change is inevitable, and within the realm of robotics for SMBs, transformation is now the norm. What was once a daunting prospect is undergoing a remarkable shift. The global robotics market stands on the precipice of a monumental surge, with predictions catapulting from $65 billion in 2021 to a staggering $180 billion by 2027. Pivotal shifts have unfolded to render this advanced technology more accessible, potentially redefining the trajectory of SMBs in the manufacturing landscape.

Unlock SMB adoption with versatility

Product variations, sizes, shapes – these intricacies often stumped SMBs in their automation journey. However, this is changing with modern robotics. Technological advancements such as robotic arms with vision systems, collaborative robots, modular automation systems, and more ensure efficiency and versatility for SMBs.

No-code and low-code platforms as a game-changer

Traditionally, programming robots has been considered a domain exclusive to experts. However, the rise of no-code and low-code programming platforms is reshaping the narrative. These platforms enable operations and users without extensive coding knowledge to program and configure robot applications. SMBs can easily customize robot behavior, define tasks, and integrate robots into their existing processes.

Is Robotics-as-a-Service (RaaS) the future for SMBs?

The introduction of Robotics-as-a-Service (RaaS) marks a paradigm shift in the way businesses approach robotics. It enables businesses to access robotic capabilities as needed, eliminating the need for long-term ownership or substantial infrastructure investment. This not only lowers the barriers to entry but also offers a convenient, flexible, and cost-efficient solution.

New avenues for SMBs through government initiatives

Government initiatives, exemplified by the Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing (ARM) Institute and the Manufacturing USA network, play a pivotal role in empowering SMBs by providing crucial resources such as funding and technical expertise. Additionally, within the European Union, programs like Horizon 2020 offer funding opportunities to develop innovative technologies and solutions.

It is key that SMBs understand how collaborative platforms, funding incentives, and the overarching vision of these government programs work in unison to provide them with the essential support for seamless integration of robotic automation.

What’s the bottom line for SMBs in manufacturing?

As the curtain rises on the next act in manufacturing evolution, SMBs find themselves at a crossroads. What should be their strategy in navigating the robotics terrain? The bottom line is the realization that evaluating the role of robotics is not just an option but a necessity for SMBs in manufacturing. How they embrace this technology will determine their competitiveness today and in the future.

Next steps

Curiosity piqued? The eBook holds the key to deeper insights. Embark on this journey with us to unravel the nuances of SMBs embracing robotics and automation – from hesitation to innovation. Download Breaking Barriers: The Future of SMBs in Manufacturing with Robotics.

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