Automate 2023 took place in Detroit in May, and it brought with it a lot of trends—things that will be in full force in 2024. How nice it is to get a sneak peek of what will be happening next year, and we will share what we learned. Some of the biggest trends were:
The continuing growth of robotics. This is no surprise to anyone. Manufacturing leaders are finding robots and cobots to be very helpful, work any shift, they can lift and place things without the risk of injury, and getting easier to implement. Particularly in the cobot world, the programming is becoming improved and much easier. Some vendors are even retrofitting traditional robots to be more like cobots, only bigger and stronger.
And now…they’re mobile. Somewhere between robots and automatic guided vehicles (AGVs, those warehouse denizens that crept along wires embedded in the floor and moved things) lie AMRs—autonomous mobile robots. These moving worker bee robots are well-behaved co-workers; they can tell if a human is nearby, or if some obstruction is in their intended path. They can handle loads of hundreds or even thousands of pounds. Some of the AMR firms include KUKA, Agilox, ForwardX (www.forwardx.com), and Stäubli, to name only a few.