The demand for automated pick and place robots is on the rise

The demand for automated pick and place robots is on the rise

Materials handling market looking up

Growing automation capabilities in the manufacturing space coupled with increasing penetration of advanced technologies, such as IoT, RFID, and AI, are expected to drive the market growth

October 2018

Material handling equipment market size is set to exceed $190 billion by 2024 and is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of over 5.5 per cent from 2018 to 2024, according to a new research report by Global Market Insights.

Rising demand for sophisticated automated systems coupled with the ever-increasing labour costs is anticipated to contribute to the material handling equipment market growth over the forecast timeline. The use of traditional human techniques leading to reduced productivity and increased time consumption has stressed the need for companies to manufacture high-performance material handling systems, the report noted.

In addition, the demand for automated pick and place robots is on the rise since these systems can be controlled remotely, offering features such as precise operational capability, contributing to the material handling equipment market demand.

The incorporation of advanced technologies into the equipment that ensures enhanced throughput is a key factor influencing the material handling equipment market growth. The integration of technologies, such as Internet of Things (IoT), Radio-frequency identification (RFID), Artificial intelligence (AI), Big data, Cloud, and Robotics, into these systems is encouraging their adoption across several industry verticals. The implementation of big data in material handling equipment is aggregating supply chain data and is driving improvements across several businesses whereas the incorporation of IoT into these systems is enabling the real time monitoring and tracking of products.

High investment and maintenance costs associated with these systems are expected to hinder the material handling equipment market growth. There are high operational costs associated with the use of industrial trucks to ensure their smooth operations. The emerging trend of renting equipment than buying enables consumers to reduce the overall project expenditure is anticipated to hamper the industry growth.

Growing demand for the storage and handling equipment, industrials trucks, automated storage and retrieval system (AS/RS), and robotics across several industry verticals, such as e-commerce, 3PL, food retail, food and beverage, and general merchandise, is helping the material handling equipment market growth. The rising awareness about the benefits of automation is compelling companies to replace traditional techniques with new and advanced solutions.

Several warehouses and distribution centers are optimising the storage and picking by utilising engineered systems such as sortation systems and pick modules. Robots also enable moving fragile or hazardous materials safely with reduced chances of errors. The expanding logistics and manufacturing domains are fueling the material handling equipment market. As human capital is becoming difficult to retain and recruit, automated material handling solutions are aiding companies in managing the labor challenges while ensuring profitability and productivity.

In material handling equipment market, AS/RS is gaining popularity and is expected to reach over $49 billion by 2024 as it facilitates several tasks such as the real-time inventory control, order picking accuracy, and safer operations. These systems enable fast load transfers at high speeds. Industries are increasingly using AS/RS over the manual order picking process to reduce labour costs and ensure efficient order fulfillment. Furthermore, AS/RS regularly positions and transports the essential inventory to a conveyor, manual outfeed, or an operator station and enables maintaining the real-time product tracking and identification.

The material handling equipment market is witnessing growth globally with the growing demand in the e-commerce sector valued at over $14 billion in 2017. The integration of RFID tags and sensors into the equipment is facilitating error-free procedures and faster movement of materials. Material handling solutions provide flexible and scalable solutions to increase order accuracy, optimise productivity, and improve the order cycle times. The need for flexible distribution operations in warehouses has led organisations to implement automation in material handling applications to speed up the operations and meet the growing demands.

Asia Pacific material handling equipment market is expected to witness growth at over 6.5 per cent CAGR. The growth can be attributed to the flourishing manufacturing sector in countries including China, Taiwan and India. Several government initiatives, such as Made in China 2025 and Make in India, are supporting the growth of the manufacturing sector in these regions. Increasing number of manufacturers is implementing robotic technologies to combat the rising labour costs and improve the productivity.

The Europe material handling equipment market estimated to be over $25 billion is anticipated to grow owing to several countries in the region gaining economic stability after the crisis, thereby supporting the industrial growth. Stringent regulations pertaining to operator safety are compelling companies to utilise material handling systems for handling hazardous materials. The Health and Safety Framework Directive ensures a high degree of protection for workers.

The growing transportation and logistics industry in the US is providing growth opportunities to the industry value at over $25 billion in 2017. The early technology adoption in the region and the ongoing R&D in the US will fuel the material handling equipment market demand. Stringent government regulations related to operator safety in Europe are compelling manufacturers to use high-quality machines that comply with the existing standards.

Key players in the material handling equipment market include Columbus McKinnon, Dematic, KG, Flexlink, Daifuku Co, Hyster-Yale Materials Handling, JBT Corporation, Kion Group, KUKA, and Intelligrated. Leading players are investing in R&D of automated systems to enhance the productivity and launching new advanced solutions to strengthen their market presence.

The industry is characterised by strategic acquisitions and collaborations with technology providers to offer enhanced solutions. Players are stressing on manufacturing solutions that cater to specific industry demands and complying with the standards and regulations operating in the industry. Increasing investments in the R&D of new automation solutions will contribute to industry growth.

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