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Japanese Robotics Markets
Frost & Sullivan, December 2006, Pages: 24
This Frost & Sullivan research service entitled Japanese Robotics Market – An Overview provides insights into new developments in the robotics market along with a comprehensive analysis of its key drivers, restraints, and industry challenges. It also includes a detailed breakdown of opportunities by segments. In this research service, Frost & Sullivan's expert analysts thoroughly examine the following applications: industrial, service, and personal robotics.
The following technologies are covered in this research:
-Industrial Robots: These refer to robots that are used in manufacturing under constant supervision. They operate in a highly structured environment and unlike service or personal robots, are not autonomous. Industrial robots are primarily used in assembly lines followed closely by welding.
-Service Robots: This segment comprises robots that are used for non-industrial purposes, not pertaining to manufacturing or civil work. They typically perform tasks that do not have a high degree of repeatability in a minimally controlled environment and where the situation is continually changing. These robots are primarily used in fields such as medicine, nuclear power, aerospace, and entertainment.
-Intelligent Robots: Intelligent robot systems such as 3D vision systems encompass more flexibility and thus provide several advantages. Intelligent robots can perform work unmanned for hours together. This enables cost reduction, as these systems do not require the aid of peripheral devices.
-Construction Robots: Construction robots are used in assembly and logistics applications areas of the construction business. The concept of robots for construction was conceived from the robots used in the automobiles industry.
-Personal Robots: This segment comprises robots that may be either used to provide entertainment to individuals or perform domestic tasks at homes. Personal robots are becoming increasingly popular in entertaining the elderly.
Expert Frost & Sullivan analysts thoroughly examine the following market sectors in this research:
High Levels of Technology Development Promote Growth of Japanese Robotics Market
Having always been a global technological leader, it is hardly surprising that Japan should boast of a highly-developed, thriving robotics market. It has the largest number of robotic installations in the world, and is likely to retain this position due to various factors. The country’s negative population growth rate is one such compelling factor, coupled with a growing elderly population and a decreasing workforce of young people that are often averse to doing dull and repetitive tasks. "This has created significant related opportunities, with robots increasingly being considered viable alternatives to employees in industries such as manufacturing and construction, where the work can be monotonous and uninteresting," notes the analyst of this research service. "The idea of using robots in nursing and therapeutic applications for Japan’s aging population is also rapidly gaining ground." These factors are likely to drive strong growth of the robotics market.
Another important factor benefiting the Japanese robotics market is the strong Government support it enjoys. The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry is making concerted efforts to ensure that robotics becomes one of Japan’s core industries, allotting about $26.0 million for this purpose in 2003. It also contributed around 50 percent of the development costs of around 50 state-of-the-art robots in 2005. Currently, the Government is working with manufacturers to test robots involving human interaction. This would go a long way in establishing the safety of such machines, set higher standards for the future, as well as boost production of interactive robots.
Spotlight Shifts from Industrial to Service and Personal Robots
Currently, robots are most commonly used in assembly applications in the automotive industry, but are beginning to find increasing use in painting and clean-room applications as well. Industrial robots are also beginning to be used in more unusual factory settings such as pharmaceuticals production and packaging, consumer electronics assembly, machine tooling, and food packaging. While the focus in Japan has largely been on industrial robots, companies are now turning their attention to emerging and promising opportunities for service and personal robots. "The robotics market holds significant potential for manufacturers of service robots," says the analyst. "However, Japanese companies are yet to specialize in this segment as the potential applications are niche, and products may take some time to find acceptance among end users."
Service robots are primarily used in fields such as medicine, nuclear power, aerospace, and entertainment. With Japan being an island nation, marine exploration has started emerging as exciting application area for these robots to carry out unmanned research and detection. Personal robots, as already mentioned, are being used to aid, and even entertain, the growing elderly population that often suffers from loneliness. Robots for domestic purposes such as vacuum cleaning have already been developed and it is hoped will gain popularity. Manufacturers are exploring the idea of introducing robots that act as security guards in offices or schools.