A software and robotics machine called mGripAI from Massachusetts-based Soft Robotics sorts artifical pieces of chicken into trays for packaging at an automation conference held by the Association for Advancing Automation in Detroit.
Michael Wayland / CNBC
DETROIT — The automotive and logistics industries aren’t any strangers to robots.
They’re amongst essentially the most heavily invested businesses in automation within the U.S. economy, using robots to sort packages, transport goods and assist in constructing vehicles.
But other industries where robotics have not yet taken hold could also be potential investment opportunities and expansion areas for automation firms in the approaching years.
Those emerging areas intrigue Jeff Burnstein, an automation-industry guru and president of the Association for Advancing Automation. His trade group represents greater than 1,000 global firms involved in robotics, machine vision, motion control, and motors and related technologies.
Burnstein, who recently received a prestigious award for his greater than 40 years within the industry, believes automation and robotics could greatly assist in doing the “dull, dirty, dangerous jobs” that individuals don’t necessarily need to do.
Jeff Burnstein (right center), president of the Association for Advancing Automation, after receiving a Joseph F. Engelberger Robotics Award for his greater than 40-year profession within the industry.
Photo courtesy of the Association for Advancing Automation
“In case you take a look at what’s driving plenty of the automation in lots of industries it’s shortage of individuals,” he said on the sidelines of an automation convention last week in Detroit.
Labor shortages, led by the manufacturing industry, are the important thing driver in the expansion of automation, he said.
Listed below are three industries Burnstein predicts are next for automation:
The agriculture industry is already testing or using various automated, if not autonomous, technologies to make operations more efficient and safer. It also serves to chop costs
Tractor maker Deere & Co., for instance, offers a collection of automated-assistance features akin to turning and guidance for crop row lines. Deere is working on an autonomous tractor that may “see, think, and work by itself, freeing up time for farmers to finish other tasks concurrently,” based on its website.
Other automated technologies for agriculture include drones that may spray pesticides over crops, remote-controlled tractors, automated harvesting systems, and other data and logistics farming apps.
Deere’s autonomous 8R tractor
Harvesting and sorting chicken parts is strictly the sort of dull, dirty, dangerous jobs automation could assist in doing, Burnstein says.
On the automation convention, not less than two firms were showcasing food-sorting robots whose abilities included identifying what kinds of cuts fit right into a tray for packaging.
Beyond efficiency benefits, there are health and safety advantages, too, advocates indicate.
“The machine cannot sneeze. It may well’t rub its face. It may well’t have hair fall into anything. So, it’s really protected. And fewer hands touching it, the less introduction for any disease,” said Anthony Romeo, a representative of Massachusetts-based firms Cognex Corp. and Soft Robotics, one in every of the businesses working on sorting food and chicken parts, who also attended the convention.
Employees of Tyson Foods
Greg Smith | Corbis SABA | Getty Images
In 2021, Tyson Foods said it could invest over $1.3 billion in latest automation capabilities through 2024 to extend yields and reduce each labor costs and associated risks — and ultimately deliver savings for the meat processor.
Tyson CEO Donnie King last month told investors the corporate is continuous to “spend money on automation and digital capabilities with opportunities to enhance our yield.”
He said the corporate has 50 lines for deboning chickens which might be fully automated.
Pilgrim’s Pride, one in every of the world’s largest chicken producers, also has announced substantial investments in automation, including greater than $100 million it announced in 2021.
Automation in health care might be viable in quite a lot of cases — from transportation of products and private medications to someone’s bedside, to cleansing and disinfecting tools.
“You possibly can try this robotically,” Burnstein said. “In case you’re having trouble finding those who might be an excellent solution. There’s all types of those things after which drug discovery, after all, and other applications.”
One notable company currently within the space is Aethon, a Pittsburgh-based robotics company that is made strides within the health-care sector with an autonomous mobile robot called the TUG. The robots are able to navigating around a hospital independently, based on the corporate’s website.
The TUG could be programmed to avoid obstacles and even operate elevators, based on the corporate.
It’s one example of an AMR, or autonomous mobile robot: a variety of vehicle that may perform several different delivery tasks, which Burnstein called “hot in automation” in the intervening time.