Though soft robotics is still in its early stages, with the variety of benefits offered by soft robots compared to the traditional robots, the penetration of the soft robots is expected to grow dramatically over the forecast period.
- Factors driving the growth of the soft robotics market include the rising demand for safety across the various end-user industries, and the increasing need for automation in industries such as food processing, e-commerce, etc. Increased investments/funding in research and development across various nations fuels the growth of the soft robotics market. â€‹
- Labor shortage in the manufacturing, warehousing and logistics industries is creating a productivity gap for companies globally. As per Sarcos Robotics, in these two industries, an estimated 50% to 70% of the warehousing budget is attributed to labor costs. Moreover, each back injury from a workers comp claim in logistics and warehousing is around USD 40,000 to USD 80,000.â€‹
- Exoskeletons are an emerging technology that has the potential to protect warehouse and manufacturing workers from bad backs, shoulders, and neck injuries related to heavy and repetitive lifting. In November 2019, StrongArm Technologies reported that some 30 customers were using or testing its system, including Walmart and Toyota. They can also be utilized in the military. â€‹
- However, many R&D projects were funded by various governments across the world despite Covid-19 crisis to support the contribution of robotics and automation to the industry as well as society. For instance, China's strategic plan of Made in China 2025 includes advanced robots among the top 10 core industries.
Key Market Trends
Medical and Surgical Applications to Register Highest Growth
- Soft robots inherently have the advantage of being compliant with the natural tissues of human and living organisms. Minimally invasive surgery (MIS) is one of the research areas with the big potential of adopting soft robotics. This is because it overcomes the limitation of traditional MIS methods such as a low degree of freedom.
- The limitations involved in open surgeries and laparoscopic procedures coupled with increasing advantages of robotic surgery systems are expected to boost the adoption rates of robot-assisted surgeries worldwide. For instance, the advantages such as smaller incision size, fewer complications, minimization of infection rates, and shorter recovery times are driving surgeons to adopt these robotic systems to perform various surgeries.
- The robotic surgery market is expected to benefit from the growing incidence of chronic diseases such as urology, gynecology, orthopedic, and other chronic disorders worldwide. According to the latest World Health Organization (WHO) report, non-communicable diseases (NCDs), such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, and chronic respiratory diseases are currently responsible for almost 71% of global deaths. It accounts for 41 million people dying each year of these NCDs.â€‹
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Asia-Pacific to be the Fastest Growing
- Asia-Pacific is one of the fastest growing markets for soft robotics mainly due to the massive adoption of the technology with increasing domestic production in the market. The regional vendors are also playing a significant role in the innovation and development in the soft robotics field. For instance, in 2019, Samsung introduced its a bunch of new robots and a wearable exoskeleton. â€‹
- When it comes to the exoskeleton wearable development, two countries in Asia stand apart from the rest: Japan and China. Both countries view exoskeletons as key to preventing workplace injury and allowing aging workers to stay in the workforce longer. They are profoundly investing in the development of robotic exoskeletons for their ability to assist injured or disabled people and to keep aging populations in the workforce longer.â€‹
- Additionally, In Japan, exoskeletons are beginning to be covered by insurance providers, a sign that more widespread medical use is likely to occur in the near future.â€‹
- Moreover, in January 2019, US-based Ekso Bionics Inc entered into an agreement with China-based Zhejiang Youchuang Venture Capital Investment Co., Ltd (ZYVC) and another partner to serve and develop the exoskeleton market in China and other Asian markets and to create a global exoskeleton manufacturing center.
The market has seen huge investments in the technical front and new entrants are expected to emerge in the market. Currently, soft robot manufacturers have very specific solutions and the market is moderately competitive. However, with the advent of big players in the robotics market venturing into the soft robotics is expected to increase the competition.
- March 2020 -- Soft Robotics Inc. announced the launch SuperPick Polybag Picking System, specifically designed to handle product returns. It will enable e-commerce operations to automate the handling, scanning, and loading of outbound orders and returns of polybagged items.
- March 2020 - Righthand Robotics Inc announced its global expansion in Europe with the establishment of a sales and business development office in Frankfurt, Germany. With multiple customers and partners based in Europe, RHRâ€™s German operation will strengthen the companyâ€™s business and enable them to further expand their presence as the market grows and their customer base deepens in the region.â€‹
- February 2020 - Ekso Bionics Holdings Inc announced a collaboration with Kindred Healthcare, LLC ("Kindred") to pilot EksoNR, the most clinically used robotic exoskeleton, in their long-term acute care hospitals. EksoNR, the most clinically used robotic exoskeleton, is an intuitive exoskeleton computing device empowering patients recovering from a stroke or other conditions to learn to walk again with a more natural gait.â€‹
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