Global Soft Robotics Market - Segmented by Application (Human Motor Assistance, R&D of Humanoids, etc.), Type (Soft Grippers, Co-robots, Inflated Robots, and Wearables) End-user (Food processing, Medical & Health Care, etc.), and Region - Growth, Trends, and Forecast (2018 - 2023)
The soft robotics market is expected to register at a CAGR of 27.2%, during the forecast period (2018 - 2022). The scope of the report is limited to the applications of soft robots across industries. While the regions considered in the scope of the report include North America, Europe, and various others. Robotics, which deals with constructing robots from highly compliant materials, similar to those found in living organisms falls under the scope of this report.
Soft Robots are the ones which are designed to address the issues associated with the traditional robots made out of rigid materials. Soft robots allow high adaptability and flexibility for accomplishing tasks, as well as improved safety when working around with humans in manufacturing units. Because of these reasons, the soft robots find applications in the fields of medicine and manufacturing. Different techniques, like 3D printing technologies are used to manufacture these robots.
Robots with soft end grippers are used for grabbing and manipulating objects as they have the advantage of producing a low force that is good for holding delicate objects without breaking them. Thus, these soft grippers can be used where the hard robots cannot be used, i.e., in handling delicate objects, like breakables, food, etc. These grippers, therefore, can be used in logistics in food and vegetable processing industry and food industry etc.
For the majority of chronic stroke survivors with hemiparesis cases, loss of hand motor ability is observed, and whether partial or total, this can significantly inhibit activities of daily living (ADL) and can considerably reduce one's quality of life. Hand rehabilitation and assistive soft robots can address these challenges. Humanoid co-robot for elderly care is also in the market, which is developed to provide safer and better handling of patients. Robotic exoskeletons also fall under soft robots category, which is designed for giving mobility back to those who had lost it. They could also assist with moving and lifting objects, reducing workplace injury. China and Japan are pursuing R&D on exoskeleton applications in military, industrial, and healthcare use.
Despite these applications, the major challenge soft robotics market faces are the milestone of technology commercialization. Currently, only a few companies, like Soft robotics have fully commercialized these soft robot grippers. The reasons being the significant challenge associated with soft robots, which hold the users back from using them in their industries. That is the challenge of durability compared to the rigid robots. Therefore only if the soft robotics technology can advance to a stage where the robots can be customized to the needs of the end-users, these may not be commercialized and positively impact the application industries.
Food Industry to be Fast-Growing Segment For Robotic Automation
As quoted by Carl Vause, CEO of Soft Robotics Inc. (the only company to fully commercialize the soft robots), the food industry is expected to be a fast-growing segment for robotic automation. The ability of soft robots to pick, and handle food and vegetables can be leveraged in the food and vegetable processing industry. The robotic arms use a gripper made of a soft material that mimics the way an octopus grips Apart from handling the products better, robots with soft end effectors can palletize structured objects, such as crates, cartons, and boxes, thus, performing additional tasks in the food processing industry. In the light of growing demand for food, the robotic automation seems to have a bright future. It is estimated that, by 2050, approximately two-thirds of the world population will be living in cities, which leads to increased demand for processed foods and meat protein.
APAC is Estimated to be an Emerging Market
Geographically EU, USA, and China are among the largest among food producers and are estimated to be a market opportunity for the soft robotics. Also, in Europe, robotics research into soft grippers is making progress as part of a four-year program. By 2050, in APAC, it is estimated that India, China, Indonesia, Philippines, and Pakistan will represent more than 50% of the world's population. The increasing demand for food considering the growing population, robotic automation is likely to gain demand in the APAC.
KEY DEVELOPMENTS IN MARKET: