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研發機器人 重優化連結 (2017-12-28 IEK產業情報網 )

Automate is the largest automation technology solution exhibition in North America, jointly held once every two years by the Robotic Industries Association (RIA), Automated Imaging Association (AIA) and Motion Control & Motor Association (MCMA). Mobile robots, automated component technology and automated integration systems were all exhibited.
We observed three major points from this year’s exhibition: first, safety robots have gradually entered various fields; second, the e-commerce industry has increased its demand for smart warehousing; and third, closer integration of machine vision and industrial robots. The development trends brought about by these three points are optimization, connection and mass customization.
Safe robots have entered various application fields. In this exhibition, many automation system integrators showed flexible and easy ways to redeploy production lines, aimed at companies that need to continue to develop and manufacture new products with short life cycles. UR, ABB and Kuka have promoted platforms for this goal. The purpose is to create a system in which end users can quickly and easily acquire hardware and software modules for production automation.
In addition, the e-commerce industry has shifted from automated guided vehicles (AGV) to smart warehousing. E-commerce companies in the US are competing for delivery speed and are troubled by a lack of labor. The AGVs for warehouses and logistics exhibited this time can sustain bigger and bigger loads, and many companies are able to overcome positioning errors by simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM). The use of LiDAR-based technology to identify the environment and movement is also one of the current trends.
All machine vision systems displayed in Automate 2017 emphasized fast integration. Vision is an important module of automation systems. Therefore, its fast integration with PLCs and other control equipment or robots is the most critical factor. Most applications of machine vision in the US are in the mechanical metal industry, electronics industry and biotechnology industry. Applications in commercial entertainment have also increased gradually. For example, VRs panoramic virtual scenes are constructed by the use of multiple industrial cameras. In addition, 3D scanning is also a trend in machine vision technology applications.
Moreover, the number of exhibitors and visitors at Automate this year hit a new high, showing that the return of US manufacturing centered on industrial automation has grabbed people’s attention.
Labor resources have declined sharply in global economic development due to the aging society. Meanwhile, the return home of production lines is the trend in Europe and the US, driving the US brands that have long outsourced their production overseas to think and invest in the R&D and setup of automated production equipment. Once the trend is established, this mode will be applied to their overseas production plants, which will restructure and change the arrangement of OEM factories in China and emerging countries.
US industrial development has shifted from the manufacturing sector to the financial sector, service sector and high-tech sector. In terms of internal factors, the rapid development of automation has eroded a large number of job opportunities in the manufacturing sector. With respect to external factors, the low-cost and high-yield characteristics of the manufacturing sector directly drive the optimal global allocation of production factors. Therefore, it will be hard for the outsourced manufacturing sector and supply chains to return to the US.
The Obama administration had strongly advocated the return home of the manufacturing sector. However, the jobs created by the returning industries only accounted for 4.6% of new jobs and an increasing number of industrial robots. There were 27,504 robots in the US in 2015, which was a 68% growth compared with 2010. The US intended to compete for the commanding heights of the manufacturing sector. However, the division of labor in the global industrial chain of the manufacturing sector and the trend of outsourcing have not changed much.
Trump plans to reboot the US manufacturing sector. What the industry needs is not manpower but automation and industrial robots. With the rise of new manufacturing trends, the assembly business’ differences in regional cost will disappear. More and more mechanical arms will be put into the production lines, and the benefits of reduction in production cost will appear.
Taiwan’s manufacturers are important partners of Apple. For example, Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., Ltd. and Pegatron Corporation have established complete supply chain systems for product assembly and product-related components. If these companies follow Apple’s example and move their factories to the US, they will face labor issues. However, this can also be regarded as a transformation opportunity for Taiwan’s manufacturers.
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