In 2016, the South Korean government planned to put 500 billion won, or about $445 million, toward expanding the country’s robotics industry. And in 2017, the country claimed the highest robot concentration globally with 531 multipurpose industrial robots per 10,000 employees in the manufacturing industry.
Now with new developments and market entries, the competition among companies producing collaborative robots in South Korea is growing.
Established robotics company Doosan recently announced four new co-bot models that use in-house technology and received Germany’s Red Dot Award in interface and user experience design.
“After analyzing the growth potential, competency potential and business feasibility, we have identified a great deal of new opportunities in the collaborative robot market and decided to launch the new product development project,” a Doosan official said in a press release. “We are firmly committed to establishing a leading position in the market through our continuous R&D efforts and investments, and to lead the growth of the market.”
The company plans to begin mass production within the year, with the goal of hitting the market in 2017. The Doosan co-bot was on display for the first time during Robot World 2017 in Korea, Sept. 13-16.
The event, however, saw a number of new collaborative robots from Korean companies on exhibit, reflecting the growing market. Puloon Tech, a company specializing in mechatronic modules and software for ATMs, entered the co-bot market with a humanoid manipulator arm.
In addition, Hannah Techwin Group demonstrated a lightweight co-bot model with an integrated virtual safety zone and the ability to control two robots with a single remote, while robot controller developer Neuromeka exhibited its “smart” co-bot Indy, according to show coverage by the team on the French service robot show Innorobo.
The International Robot Federation expects the industrial robots industry to grow at an average annual rate of 20% as manufacturing continues to automate. Loop Ventures estimates the global market for industrial robots to grow to $33.8 billion by 2025, largely because of the adoption of collaborative robots.
Collaborative robots are designed to be safer for humans, allowing greater human-robot interaction in a workplace. They don’t need protective barriers and can help human work become more efficient, factors that may drive the installation and market growth of co-bots.