Robotics is the branch of mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and computer science that deals with the design, construction, operation, and application of robots, as well as computer systems for their control, sensory feedback, and information processing.
It deals with automated machines replacing humans in the dangerous yet intelligent environment by resembling humans in appearance, behavior, and/or awareness.
·Robotics is a rapidly growing field. As the technological is advancing, designing advancing and creating new robots serves various purposes in domestic, commercial and military services.
Robotics is fast entering into the industrial space in India; it is natural that a lot of employment and entrepreneurship opportunities are opening up for people who wish to enter this growing and exciting field.
There is no denying the fact that there are many challenges that need to be overcome before India is seen as a go-to destination for Robotics. One of the biggest challenges that they face today is the procurement of the hardware and other electronic components that are required to build a robot. However, this can be seen as a golden opportunity for budding entrepreneurs to set up businesses that can supply “Made in India” components and hardware to the existing and upcoming companies involved in Robotics.
Despite the weakening global economic situation a further robot sales increased about 9 per cent to about 181,000 units in 2012. Between 2013 and 2015 worldwide robot sales increased by about 5 per cent on average a year. In 2015, the annual supply of industrial robots will reach more than 200,000 units. At the end of 2015, almost 1.6 billion industrial robots will be in operation in the factories worldwide.
The future of Robotics in India seems certainly bright and promising.
Since the turn of the 20th century, research into the functionality and potential uses of robots has seen a lot of action.
Indian robotics researchers have similarly grown from a handful to over a hundred engaged in research labs, education, industry, atomic energy. For further advancement of Robotics in India “Robotics society of India” was formed at Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi.
Robotics Society of India (RSI) is an academic institution which came into existence on July 10, 2011 with the aim of promoting Indian robotics and automation activities by encouraging robotics interaction among various researchers across the country as well as by holding various workshops and conferences at national level.Robotics Society of India also played vital role in collaborating with organizations like IEEE, ASME which are already involved in this field
Being passionate about Robotics since their school and college days, Samay Kohli and Akash Gupta co-founded Grey Orange Robotics based in Gurgaon after studying multiple industries and narrowing down to warehouse/logistics. The company has built the robot “Butler”, a mobile intelligent ground vehicle used for material handling. The company’s clients include Flipkart, and Datt Mediproducts.
According to the founders, an ideal team that can come up with a world class product in the Robotics industry would be one with “deep specialization in server engineering, electrical, embedded programming and mechanical engineering (with focus on design, manufacturing and materials).
Sectors that are best suited for the adoption of Robotics are those with large volumes, frequent demand spikes or are prone to frequent audits/quality checks. Also industries where the volumes are huge enough to occupy large real estate are also prime candidates for Robotics
This makes automation ideal for sectors like retail, pharmacy, e-commerce, automobile spares and engineering tools.
Fahad Azad, Co-founder & Managing Director of Robosoft Systems, a Mumbai-based company founded in 2008 that manufactures duct cleaning and inspection robots, DIY educational robots and UAV research platforms feels that robots can replace humans to do any monotonous, dirty or dangerous tasks in any industry.
·Various Research and Development Labs have been established in India for the development of new technologies in all the trending fields including Robotics
Robotics opens up a plethora of opportunities for students and entrepreneurs
Dr. Bijay Kumar Rout, Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Coordinator Center for Robotics and Intelligent Systems, BITS Pilani says that industries across a range of sectors such as automotive, atomic energy, defense, space, metals, textiles and manufacturing use Robotic technologies very extensively. He further adds, “robots are required everywhere to improve productivity. They are also being used in operation theaters and rehabilitation centers to augment the quality of life. Developed countries like Japan and America have been using robots to clean rooms, entertain etc. The automation industry is a big consumer of Robotic technology. Using such technology, the quality of products and processes improve considerably.”
Robotics education in India is an emerging field and along with high interest and demand among the students the potential is immense. Economic Times estimates Robotics education in India as a 500 Crore industry. Like in USA and many other countries, robotics in India will become mainstay of educational curricula at all educational levels.
Robot-centered competitions like FIRST, BotBall, FIRA and Robocup continue to flourish. Leading companies like Google, Intel and Microsoft have funded a variety of university projects in computer science education, including a multi-million dollar center.
Market for educational robotic kits at $27.5 million in 2007 has reached to $1.69 billion by 2014, Robot entertainment and educational markets at $184.9 million in 2007 have reached to $2.985 billion by 2014.
Market growth is spurred by the evolution of new technology useful in a range of industry. The educational and entertainment robots represent a first step in the evolution of the robotic markets because they provide the teaching aspect of the market that precedes any other market evolution in the services and mobility segments of consumer robotics.
Robotics is already having a transformative impact on the workplace, from the factory to hospital operating rooms. In the upcoming days, this impact can be extended to homes and highways to increase the ability to live independently and to save lives
It has been quite a while since robotics entered the mainstream. However India is yet to wake up to the advanced trend. What causes this delay is that in India industrialization is not easy or commonplace in agrarian economy-centered country India.
Lack of skilled workforce is one of the major concerns faced by most of the countries. The workforce is underutilized to their potential by assigning them low level jobs which restrict the growth of employee and the employer.
In spite of having schools, colleges, camps and institutions talking about robotics in the country it is yet to gain a comprehensive outlook.
Abheek Bose, CEO, Robots Alive says that “the cost of adopting Robotic technology is very high due to the cost of procuring imported hardware components as well as training personnel. As Robotics is a multidisciplinary field, acquiring and retaining quality talent is a big issue. Lastly, SME customers need to see visible ROI before they proactively adopt Robotics.”
Grey Orange Robotics, Kohli and Gupta who say that “in general hardware businesses are challenging because of all the paperwork involved in importing hardware parts into India”. They further add that there are not many commercial applications that are ready to enter the market.
Nitin Motani, Chairman, SK Robotics says that India needs to bridge the gap between huge investment and the support of large scale industries.
Scarcity of talent in many disciplines such as electrical, embedded, software and mechanical that make up Robotics. Also Importing quality components leads to longer lead times and other excise and licensing woes is also a major concern for them, in addition to finding early adopter customers of Robotics.
From an academic perspective, Robotics being multidisciplinary in nature, barring students in the top schools in India, the others lack the knowledge required in four to five engineering disciplines to become an expert in this field.
Indian Economy is growing, despite the economic crisis that engulfed the world with the national investment rate at around 33-34 percent and is expected to increase to 36 percent by the end of 12th Five-Year Plan (2012-2017).
By 2015 the global robotics industry is estimated to be worth $17.6 billion with the Indian robotics industry worth approximately $750 million and is expected to double over the next 3-4 years.
In 2011, robot sales in India doubled to 1,547 units are expected to rise to about 4,000 units a year until 2015. The main applications of robots in India are welding, handling and dispensing. Hence, it is likely that more than 70 per cent of the robot sales ended up in the automotive industry.
Growing demand for industrial robots has attracted leading global manufacturers of robots as Kuka Robotics, ABB, Fanuc etc. to set up facilities in India to serve the Indian market
Nitin Motani, Chairman, SK Robotics mentioned that “India has an immense potential to emerge as a leading design and manufacturing hub for robotics, catering to huge demands in global markets.
Forecasting the adoption of Robotics in India in the future, Dr. Rout says that “due to globalization and high industrialization, Robotics in India is poised for a bright future. Considering that India is already a manufacturing hub catering to the whole world, the use of robot in every aspect of manufacturing will provide the necessary edge to companies. In turn this will propel the requirement of skilled manpower for this technology.
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