The Coming Industrial Robot Revolution


The opportunity to cut costs, increase efficiency in the warehouse and logistics sectors will be brought about by industrial robots, according to a new report published by a market intelligence firm, Tractica.

The global market number of robots and related automation equipment is said to number 40,000. The industrial robot sector is expected to grow over 15 times in the next 4 years from their research entitled “Warehousing and Logistics Robots”.

Industrial Robots

Globally, the report predicts these robotic shipments to achieve an annual $22.4B by 2022. The sector is an estimated $1.9 billion in 2016. According to the report, which illustrates market drivers and issues, profiles Seventy five “emerging industry players,” and is split into segments according to robot type. Based on the report, “warehousing and logistics sectors are searching for robotics solutions, to stay globally competitive,” that may “lead to widespread acceptance and presence of robots in warehouses and logistics operations.”

Floor Robot

To qualm concerns about unemployment as a result of automation, the report authors stated they expect that the surge in robots will likely generate new employment and opportunities for businesses. “The next 5 years will be a period of significant innovation in the space, bringing significant opportunities for established industry players and start-ups alike,” said Manoj Sahi, a researcher, in the report.

The biggest drivers from this sector’s growth, suggested by Sahi, will be  “within the small mobile robots” Right after those, shuttle automated storage, retrieval solutions and gantry robots will have the second largest impact.

Additionally, the growth in robots in supply chain operations will more than likely make these operations “faster, safer, and more productive,” reported by Tractica.

Manufacturing plant robots have already been making a significant impact, with companies like Google and Amazon for working with robots that can lift and shift large pallets or shelves-competing to develop advanced stockroom robots. The Ford motor company  is automating with robots called collaborative robots within their German operations.  In the same country, innovation is continuing with Magazino, a company that designs “seeing” robots with advanced computer vision, that picks items off shelves, and bring them to a sorting machine-which is possibly a large edge when it comes to scaled-down “picking” tasks that often demand a human worker. It’s also a benefit with regards to a damaged barcode or improperly positioned item on the shelf.

Advances in machine learning, will bring about an increase in robot skills, scanning and vision abilities, and also create new smart robots, this will drive growth and bring down initial purchase costs, since they provide robots the ability to handle with ease, more difficult or complex tasks.

Industrial Real Estate Impacts and Opportunities

  • Parking lots will continue to shrink in new logistics and distribution buildings.
  • Opportunities for existing warehouses with larger employee parking, will be the ability to erect new structures in this space such as cross docks and enlarged warehousing space.
  • Developers will need to design industrial structures with higher ceilings to further enhance further square foot efficiencies. This will drive up concrete costs as thicker foundations increase relative to ceiling height.
  • Methods of transportation are changing, to future proof new developments, developers should renew focus on the roof. Automated cars and transport are already here, but the disruptive technology will be autonomous drones as public transport. With the stroke of pen, new legislation will allow municipalities to replace bus and rail with drones. Rooftops will become the new bus stops, cities like Toronto’s Pearson airport is one of the most badly designed and its aged infrastructure is deadlocking growth. Its predicted that the current mega employment zone around Pearson would double to 700,000 jobs from its current 300,000 people.
  • Warehouse and industrial landlords could offer robot based incentives to tenants and profit from longer leases, interest generated from these Tenant Inducements (T.I’s) will lead to higher price per sq. sale prices, and higher capitalization rates.