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Key FABTECH Robotics Takeaways for Manufacturers

Key FABTECH Robotics Takeaways for Manufacturers

December 4, 2022

The Cohesive Robotics team had a wonderful time exhibiting at our first FABTECH show in Atlanta a few weeks ago. We were thrilled to introduce the Smart Finishing™ Robotic Workcell to excited business owners, engineers and fabricators. And we weren’t the only ones! According to organizers, the event welcomed 30,000 attendees from 70 countries, and 1,200 exhibitors covering over 600,000 square feet.

With so much going on during those three days, here are a few of our key takeaways for manufacturers and fabricators to consider going into the last few weeks of the year:

Business owners and operators continue the hunt for production help

With a 22% increase in attendance from the 2021 show, there was of course a noticeable increase in exhibit hall energy in every aisle. Speaking with hundreds of attendees in our booth and around the show, we heard a similar story: ”We can’t keep up with production demands.” Business operators have the market demand to grow their production capacity, but are limited in one or more ways from meeting it. By far the most common reason we heard was the lack of skilled and/or reliable labor. It was no coincidence that we encountered numerous business owners and managers evaluating whether a technology, service, or workforce training approach on display at FABTECH was the right solution for their business. To have these folks attend in person and take several days away from their business shows how important this issue has become.

Robotic solutions for any shop floor and budget

It sure seemed like there were a lot of robotic arms on the show floor doing real work, either on their own, collaboratively, or integrated with a larger machine. From welding to machine tending, sanding and grinding to inspecting, it was all here. For many folks, it wasn’t a question of IF they were ready for a robot, but which solution was right for their business. It was a great occasion for attendees to see the variety of automation offerings, both in the technical capabilities as well as the delivery and service aspects of the systems. There were the heavyweight robot OEMs that manufacture the robots, component suppliers that design end effectors and vision systems, traditional system integrators that offer full custom solutions and support, as well as a growing number of productized turnkey solutions ready to go for a variety of popular applications. To have all that in one place was really helpful for attendees making critical automation and equipment decisions for their production operations back home.

The rise of “easier to use” robots

Industrial automation and manufacturing technologies are often saddled with confusing HMIs (human-machine interfaces) or require specialized programming. And it’s been that way in robotics for decades as well. However, the past few years have seen a proliferation of collaborative, no-code, low-code, and autonomous solutions that have lowered the barrier for robot adoption, particularly in small and medium-sized businesses that lack in-house automation teams and large technology budgets. This trend was on full display across the FABTECH exhibit halls and we found attendees embracing the improved usability of these technologies. 

After nearly three years of limited in-person engagement opportunities due to the pandemic, this FABTECH show was a welcome sign of things to come. We enjoyed meeting so many hard-working manufacturers and look forward to supporting their businesses in the weeks and months ahead. Missed us and want to get in touch? Contact us today and let’s get automating!


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