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Report Suggests Falling Robot Prices Will Spur Lights-Out Manufacturing

FSReport LightsOut400x275

July 26, 2021

A new analysis by Frost & Sullivan suggests that the rapidly falling prices of robots and continually increasing labor costs will accelerate manufacturers’ shift to a lights-out manufacturing setting, in which minimal human intervention is needed to run day-to-day operations.

A report, “Transformative Mega Trends Enabling Lights-Out Manufacturing,” also said that companies can optimize their human capital and potentially save up to 20% of labor costs and generate a 30% increase in productivity output by switching to a lights-out operations model. The research firm said companies can also achieve sustainability and zero-carbon emission goals by saving energy during production hours. The firm said companies within automotive, general manufacturing, electronics and electrical components, and logistics and warehouses are the four major areas expected to make rapid advancements to a fully automated lights-out environment in the short term.

“Globally, the COVID-19 outbreak has further expedited the shift to automated lights-out manufacturing processes,” said Vinay Venkatesan, program manager of TechVision at Frost & Sullivan. “This enables companies to expand their production capacity beyond traditional shift hours and take on additional work orders to ramp up productivity to pre-COVID-19 levels. Artificial intelligence will be the most critical tool enabling the lights-out tool kit. It will fuel several key technologies such as robotics, cybersecurity, digital twins, generative design, cloud computing, 5G, and 3D printing, all of which will play a key role in achieving lights-out operations.”

Venkatesan added that the manufacturing industry will increasingly rely on an ecosystem of technology experts, system integrators, and service enablers to achieve agility and customization. He said more than 45% of manufacturing applications are expected to implement robotics-as-a-service by 2030.

Frost & Sullivan said companies that have a long-term vision, take a digital-first approach and employ a highly skilled human workforce can unlock several opportunities, including:

  • Rise of micro-factories: Shifting to decentralized structures and automated manufacturing processes will drive demand for micro-factories, which require a smaller workforce and less space, energy and materials.
  • Grid manufacturing: Cyber-physical systems and computational advancements driving intelligent automation will allow companies to achieve mass customization by adopting operational customization as a business strategy.
  • Manufacturing-to-zero-as-a-service: Enabling manufacturing optimization with a zero-based value proposition requires an integrated approach that leverages all core “zero” technologies.
  • Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) platform: Ensuring a seamless transfer of information among interconnected stakeholders is important to build a collectively intelligent IIoT platform.

For more details on the report, visit the Frost & Sullivan website here.


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