Because they deal primarily with physical products, anyone in manufacturing knows that the industry as a whole has taken a hit from the effects of the pandemic.

“But COVID isn’t the only crisis that has occurred in the robotics industry,” revealed Robert Little, Founder and CEO of ATI. “What people are not familiar with is the decline in automotive since 2017 – a decline worldwide in the investment in automotive robotics.”

As a result, the robotics industry has fought an uphill battle for several years to get to where they are today.

Dan Allford met with Little to get his thoughts on where the robotics industry is headed in the next few years. The ATI founder carries multiple mechanical engineering degrees, as well as decades of experience as the company’s leader, giving him a unique perspective of the state of the robotics industry of today and tomorrow.

Luckily for those in robotics, Little sees a light at the end of the tunnel.

“2021 is going to be a fantastic year for robotics, because it’s going to be a fantastic year for manufacturers,” Little predicted. “There’s been an enlightenment, because, when I talk to manufacturing companies, they want to automate. They want to improve their processes, and they want to be more productive. They say this, and 2020 gave an urgency to that that is still there.”

Meanwhile, robotics companies have used the new downtime during the pandemic to work on their technology. “That 2020 pause gave companies that chose to invest that time, and a lot did, in a whole slew of new and better products,” Little said.

Subscribe to ARC Specialties’ Roboticist Chronicles podcast to get into the nuts and bolts of robots, automation and the implication of an evolving machine workforce.

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