The Food and Beverage Industry dominates the global sector in terms of sales and volume, and robotics is expected to play a vital role in its development. Though the consumer number for industrial robotics in food and beverage is small there has been an increase in the ordering of robotics. The growth rate of adoption of industrial robotics in food and beverage industry is expected to outpace the industrial adoption of robotics in traditional industries like automotive industry and electronics industry and is expected to be so in the forecasted period. The global industrial robotics market in food and beverages industry is expected to grow with an incredible CAGR of 29% through 2019.
In the food and beverage industry various factors that are driving the use of automation over human labor are, hygienic and contamination free production areas, improved speed and efficiency, reduced product damage and the changing sales patterns. Increased productivity and optimized end product are also the key drivers in the use of industrial robots. It also helps in offsetting the associated labor costs related with production, and are a necessity in the market where the competition has intensified, government regulations are becoming stringent and the retailer demands are ever increasing.
Food and beverages industry has many uses for the industrial robotics including but not limited to packaging, processing and ‘pick and place’. Retail packaging and palletizing are the most sought after uses of robotics of which, the food and beverage industry leads in the retail packaging industry globally. The associated initial investment cost in installment and maintenance, smooth adoption and social concern around use of robots over humans may act as a hindrance to quick adoption of industrial robotics.
The food and beverage industrial robotics market is segmented by application in Palletizing, ‘Packaging and Repacking’, ‘Picking and Placing’ and ‘Production and Processing’. Of these, the palletizing robotics segment holds the largest section of market with almost two of every three applications based on palletizing capability and is expected to grow even further. This is largely made possible by the easy handling of objects and the consistency with which it operates. The Packaging and Repacking segment follows the Palletizing segment in terms of applications and volume it caters to.
On the basis of product, the robotics market is segmented into following segments, Articulated robots, SCARA robots, Delta robots and Cartesian robots. The Articulated robots find most wide spread use amongst others and are expected to maintain their dominance in market share. Articulated robots offer a higher degree of flexibility, and hence are useful in packaging, picking and palletizing and are predicted to maintain their growth at the highest rate.
Segmentation of industrial robotics market based on region is done in five major zones, namely, North America, Asia Pacific (APAC), Europe, Middle East and Africa (MEA), and Latin America. In terms of annual revenue and sales volume the Asia Pacific region leads others and is followed by European region and North American region. The Asia Pacific region is expected to grow strongest owing to the growing market potential of South Asian countries.
The industrial robotics market in food and beverage industry is well diversified with international, regional and local players, yet the majority of market share is held by a few key players. The global key players in industrial robotics market are, ABB Ltd, FANUC Corp., Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd., KUKA AG and YASKAWA Electric Corp. There are some other prominent vendors too like, Adept Technology, Dento Robotics, Epson Robotics, Nachi Fujikoshi Robotics Systems Inc., Pari Technology, Staubli Robotics, and Yamaha Robotics.
Intense competition in the market and growing demand is leading vendors to explore new avenues in the industrial robotics market. They are looking for new opportunities and differentiating products from their competitors and increase competitiveness by heavily depending upon R&D. Development of collaborative robots, application specific robots and increased penetration in SMEs maybe the key market drivers in the coming years.
In 2014, FANUC launched Green Collaborative Robot CR-35iA, which does not require a safety fence. These robots can work with human operators and stops when it comes in contact with humans. They are equipped with R-30iB controllers which provide intelligence and networking functions for versatile applications.
In May 2016, TM Robotics and Toshiba Machine Robotics have announced their partnership with M.A.P. services. This will give MAP access to wide range of solutions for its manufacturing and production customers. Toshiba Machine Industrial Robots offer Cartesian, 6-Axis and SCARA robots and they plan to sell top notch robots in Australia.
Research Support Specialist, USA