The Corona pandemic makes it clear: the vulnerability of global logistics structures can bring industrial production to a standstill. That is why efforts to establish reliable supply chains within Europe are in full swing. The 600 or so exhibitors at Automatica, the world's leading trade fair, which takes place from 21 to 24 June in Munich, want to show it: Intelligently automated and digitally networked production is also possible in Europe economically and without risky dependencies. If parts are no longer transported halfway around the globe, sustainability also benefits. Today, almost all companies are working on becoming CO2-neutral in the next few years. This can only succeed with smart production lines based on artificial intelligence that enable a high degree of flexibility. Robots, cobots, mobile robot systems and AGVs in a digital network replace rigid conveyor technology. The production changeover from one product to another is thus possible at the push of a button without having to replace expensive equipment. The Smart Factory makes it possible. Manufacturing companies have long recognised the importance of robotics and automation for the transformation of industry, as the Automatica Trend Index 2022, which was commissioned by Automatica, shows. The results of the survey of 100 specialists and managers from German industry who decide on the use of robotics and automation are clear. Two key statements are striking: 82% of those surveyed believe that the use of robots can compensate for supply bottlenecks caused by domestic production. And 81% are of the opinion that robots could ease the labour shortage through a higher degree of automation - at the same time jobs are secured against relocation abroad. Interpreted further, these theses are a plea for domestic production sites as well as for the relocation of manufacturing back from outside Europe with the overarching goal of making supply chains more resilient. In addition, 85% of the experts and managers see industrial robotics as an opportunity for new business: green-tech products such as solar panels, batteries for e-mobility or CO2-neutral heating systems can be produced competitively in Germany or in Europe.
Technology fireworks expected
The need for automation makes the 2022 fair one of the most important Automatica ever. Moreover, after the corona-related cancellation in 2020 and four intensive years of development, an unprecedented technology fireworks display can be expected. AI components, easy-to-use cobots, self-learning robots, forward-looking programming tools - knowing today what will make tomorrow's production will be crucial.