The Shadow Robot Hand System

Robotics is an interdisciplinary branch of engineering and science that includes mechanical engineeringelectronic engineeringinformation engineeringcomputer science, and others.

Robotics deals with the design, construction, operation, and use of robots, as well as computer systems for their control, sensory feedback, and information processing.

These technologies are used to develop machines that can substitute for humans and replicate human actions. Robots can be used in many situations and for lots of purposes, but today many are used in dangerous environments (including bomb detection and deactivation), manufacturing processes, or where humans cannot survive (e.g. in space). Robots can take on any form but some are made to resemble humans in appearance. This is said to help in the acceptance of a robot in certain replicative behaviors usually performed by people. Such robots attempt to replicate walking, lifting, speech, cognition, and basically anything a human can do. Many of today's robots are inspired by nature, contributing to the field of bio-inspired robotics.

The concept of creating machines that can operate autonomously dates back to classical times, but research into the functionality and potential uses of robots did not grow substantially until the 20th century. Throughout history, it has been frequently assumed that robots will one day be able to mimic human behavior and manage tasks in a human-like fashion. Today, robotics is a rapidly growing field, as technological advances continue; researching, designing, and building new robots serve various practical purposes, whether domestically, commercially, or militarily.

Many robots are built to do jobs that are hazardous to people such as defusing bombs, finding survivors in unstable ruins, and exploring mines and shipwrecks. Robotics is also used in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) as a teaching aid.

Robotics is a branch of engineering that involves the conception, design, manufacture, and operation of robots. This field overlaps with electronics, computer science, artificial intelligence, mechatronics, nanotechnology and bioengineering.

Industrial Robots


Articulated industrial robot operating in a foundry.

An industrial robot is a robot system used for manufacturing. Industrial robots are automated, programmable and capable of movement on two or more axes.

Typical applications of robots include welding, painting, assembly, pick and place for printed circuit boards, packaging and labeling, palletizing, product inspection, and testing; all accomplished with high endurance, speed, and precision. They can assist in material handling.

In the year 2015, an estimated 1.64 million industrial robots were in operation worldwide according to International Federation of Robotics (IFR).

Automated mining

Automated mining involves the removal of human labor from the mining process. 

The mining industry is in the transition towards automation. It can still require a large amount of human capital, particularly in the developing world where labor costs are low so there is less incentive for increasing efficiency. There are two types of automated mining- process and software automation, and the application of robotic technology to mining vehicles and equipment.

Mine automation software

In order to gain more control over their operations, mining companies may implement mining automation software or processes. Reports generated by mine automation software allow administrators to identify productivity bottlenecks, increase accountability, and better understand return on investment.

Mining equipment automation

Addressing concerns about how to improve productivity and safety in the mine site, some mine companies are turning to equipment automation consisting of robotic hardware and software technologies that convert vehicles or equipment into autonomous mining units’ efficiency.


The benefits of mining equipment automation technologies are varied but may include: improved safety, better fuel efficiency, increased productivity, reduced unscheduled maintenance, improved working conditions, better vehicle utilization, and reduced driver fatigue and attrition. Automation technologies are an efficient way to mitigate the effects of widespread labor shortages for positions such as haul truck driver. In the face of falling commodity prices, many mining companies are looking for ways to dramatically reduce overhead costs while still maintaining site safety and integrity; automation may be the answer.


Critics of vehicle automation often focus on the potential for robotic technology to eliminate jobs.

Risk-averse mining companies are also reluctant to commit large amounts of capital to an unproven technology, preferring more often to enter the automation scene at lower, more inexpensive levels such as remote control.

Autonomous Vehicles magazines explains:

Autonomous Vehicle Engineering’s (AVE) mission is to cover the fast-evolving field of automated and connected vehicles from end to end. In comprehensive, original articles authored by thought leaders, the publication examines key technologies and applications including sensor fusion, artificial intelligence, smart cities, and more.

Examples of autonomous mining equipment

Mine of the future

Rio Tinto Group embarked on their Mine of the Future initiative in 2008. From a control center in Perth, Rio Tinto employees operate autonomous mining equipment in Australia's remote but mineral rich Pilbara region. The autonomous mining vehicles reduce the footprint of the mining giant while improving productivity and vehicle utilization.

Bingham Canyon Mine

Located near Salt Lake City, Utah, the Bingham Canyon Mine (Kennecott Utah Copper/Rio Tinto) is one of the largest open pit mine in the world and one of the world's largest copper producers. The mine experienced a major slide. Autonomous vehicles were used to reduce risk in cleanup.

Automation of underground works in China

German company «EEP Elektro-Elektronik Pranjic» delivered and put into operation more than 60 sets of advanced automatic controls for underground coal mining for the period ~ 2006-2016. For the first time completely deserted coal mining technology has been used by the Chinese concern

Next Generation Mining

BHP has deployed a number of autonomous mining components as part of their Next Generation Mining program. This includes autonomous drills and autonomous trucks  in the Pilbara region.

Sensor Technology

Sensors enable these robots to recognize an obstacle and stop to avoid collision, continuing on their route when their path is clear. However, these robots cannot find an alternative route to their goal if the obstacle remains in their path. In contrast, an AI-enabled mobile robot gets from A to B by building a real-time map (or updating a pre-programmed map in real-time) of its environment and of its location within that environment, planning a path to the programmed goal, sensing obstacles and re-planning a path in-situ.

  • Sensors are used in a multitude of markets including industrial, automotive, military/aerospace, medical, electronics, and information technology
  • The global market for sensors was valued at $79.5 billion in 2013 and is expected to increase to $95.3 billion in 2019
  • The sensors, transducers, detectors, and data acquisition equipment global market is forecasted to reach nearly $154.4 billion by the year 2020.

Industrial Robots

Manufacturing robots


Articulated industrial robot operating in a foundry.

An industrial robot is a robot system used for manufacturing. Industrial robots are automated, programmable and capable of movement on two or more axes.

Typical applications of robots include welding, painting, assembly, pick and place for printed circuit boards, packaging and labeling, palletizing, product inspection, and testing; all accomplished with high endurance, speed, and precision. They can assist in material handling.

In the year 2015, an estimated 1.64 million industrial robots were in operation worldwide according to International Federation of Robotics (IFR).

The International Federation of Robotics (IFR) is a professional non-profit organization established in 1987 to promote, strengthen and protect the robotics industry worldwide.


Factory automation with KUKA industrial robots for palletizing food products like bread and toast at a bakery in Germany


The Mars rover as an example for mobile service robots

The purpose of the International Federation of Robotics (IFR) is to promote research, development, use and international co-operation in the entire field of robotics, industrial robots as well as service robots. The IFR is also coordinator of the International Symposium on Robotics (ISR), one of the oldest conferences for robotics research, founded in 1970.

The purpose of the International Federation of Robotics is to promote research, development, use and international co-operation in the entire field of robotics, industrial robots as well as service robots. The IFR is also coordinator of the International Symposium on Robotics (ISR), one of the oldest conferences for robotics research, founded in 1970.

The IFR's statistical department publishes the study World Robotics every year. This publication contains detailed statistical data for some 50 countries, broken down by application areas, industrial branches, types of robots and by other technical and economic variables. The IFR estimates that about 225,000 industrial were sold in 2014, 27% more than in 2013. China was again by far the largest market destination for industrial robots in 2014. About 56,000 units were sold, 54% more than in 2013.

IFR Members

Today nearly all international industrial robot suppliers and 12 national robots associations are active members of IFR, including the biggest robot using countries like US (RIA), Japan (JARA), Taiwan (TAIROA), Germany (VDMA), Italy (SIRI) or Spain (AERATP). A full list of members is available on the IFR website. Headquarters of this umbrella organization of national robotics associations is in Frankfurt, Germany.


IFR Member Associations



Asociación Española de Robótica (AER)

 United Kingdom

British Automation & Robotics Association (BARA)


China Robot Industry Alliance (CRIA)


Danish Industrial Robot Association (DIRA)


Japan Robot Association (JARA)

 United States

Robotic Industries Association (RIA)


Russian Association of Robotics (RAR)


Associazione Italiana di Robotica e Automazione (SIRI)


Swedish Industrial Robot Association (SWIRA)


Syndicat des machines et technologies de production(SYMOP)


Taiwan Automation Intelligence and Robotics Association (TAIROA)


VDMA Robotics + Automation (VDMA R+A)

Robots and AI: Vision and Reality

Entertaining as it is to watch robots summersault, it’s important that we remain realistic about what robots really can and can’t do. The real world is bound by safety and product regulations – and of course by the question of whether the robot is economically viable for a company to adopt. Most technology takes between 10 and 25 years to be adopted at scale.

In commercially-available robotic applications, AI is making most impact in expanding robot mobility and dexterity. Until recently, robots in factories and warehouses have moved along pre-determined routes, guided by signals (magnetic, laser, lidar) from devices installed for this purpose in their environment.

3D vision technology -- one of the AI technologies making fastest progress -- means those robots can now identify objects even when they are partly hidden by other objects or poorly lit.

Machine learning enables the robot to teach itself in a very short time how to pick up an object it has not encountered before, applying the appropriate level of force. The machine learning algorithm continues to improve as it picks.

The combination of intelligent mobility and vision technology is driving a boom in automated guided vehicles (AGVs) and picking robots in warehouses and factories. AI-enabled autonomous vehicles are already at work in factories and warehouses, checking inventories, fetching goods and picking items from bins.

The IFR projects a five-fold increase in service robots in logistics by 2020.

Considerable research is going into applying AI to collaborative robots that are designed to work with humans in factories, hospitals and warehouses to assemble products, lift patients and package goods.

We’re unlikely to see robots solely powered by AI algorithms in wide scale use on the shop floor anytime soon. What we’re more likely to see is the application of AI algorithms to help robots learn to perform tasks quickly. Once the task has been learned, all or a large part of it can be hard-coded to ensure predictability.

The number of AI start-ups in the US topped 600 in 2016 and 128 robot start-up companies in the US received new funding in the same year.

Industrial Robots

The IFR’s use of the term “industrial robot” is based on the definition of the ISO: an “automatically controlled, reprogrammable multipurpose manipulator programmable in three or more axes” Industrial robot can be classified according to mechanical structure: articulated, cylindrical, linear (including Cartesian and gantry), parallel or SCARA robots.

Service Robots

The International Organization for Standardization defines a “service robot” as a robot “that performs useful tasks for humans or equipment excluding industrial automation applications”. (ISO 8373) According to ISO 8373 robots require “a degree of autonomy”, which is the “ability to perform intended tasks based on current state and sensing, without human intervention”.

 For service robots this ranges from partial autonomy - including human robot interaction - to full autonomy - without active human robot intervention. The IFR statistics for service robots therefore include systems based on some degree of human robot interaction as well as fully autonomous systems.

Automation boom in electrical /electronics industry drives 30% increase in sales of industrial robots

The electrical and electronics (E&E) industry is a key driver of a 30% growth in sales of industrial robots in 2017. E&E sectors accounted for 32% of robot sales, only 1 percentage point behind sales to the automotive industry which so far has been the main driver of robot adoption. Look for the rapid uptake of automation in the E&E sector.

The adoption of industrial robots continues to accelerate, with 30% annual growth in sales in 2017. Over 381,000 robots were sold to production industries in 2017, over twice the number sold in 2013. Over 2 million robots are now at work in industry. That number will almost double by the end of 2021,

For many years the automotive sector has been the driver of robot sales to manufacturing. This is changing rapidly. The electrical /electronics (E&E) industry will soon become the dominant sector for robot sales. By 2021, there will be more robots installed in electronics /electrical firms than in automotive manufacturers

Another reason for the 33% growth in sales of robots to the E&E industry in 2017 is the expanding range of tasks robots can perform, particularly in the assembly of electronic components and equipment.

Automation and the Future of Work

The question remains the same. What is the impact of automation on jobs?

Given machines are intended to replace human labor; the intuitive response is that automation’s impact on employment will be negative. Yet a large body of research concludes the opposite – overall, automation has a positive effect on labor demand. Yes, technology does replace jobs in specific industries over time.

Ecommerce has created sixteen times more jobs in the UK since 2010 than have been lost in retail, for example.

But the most important reason automation has maintained its track record of net job creation over so long is its impact on supply and demand. This is where automation comes in, by making goods cheaper to supply. The cost of a television, for example, fell by 98% in the US between 1950 and 2017 and as a result the number of American households owning a television rose from 9% of the population in 1950 to 95% in 1970. Increased productivity through automation results in wage increases that provide more income to spend on goods and services.

The evidence points to labor demand as being mostly in the direction of higher-skilled, higher-paid jobs. We need more, not less, of the machines, and our focus must be on ensuring current and future workers are equipped to work with them.

Global industrial robot sales doubled over the past five years.

Tokyo, Oct 18, 2018 — The new World Robotics Report shows that a new record high of 381,000 units were shipped globally in 2017 – an increase of 30 percent compared to the previous year. This means that the annual sales volume of industrial robots increased by 114 percent over the last five years (2013-2017). The sales value increased by 21 percent compared to 2016 to a new peak of US$16.2 billion in 2017.


Global industrial robot sales doubled within five years (2013-2017)

The IFR outlook shows that in 2021 the annual number of robots supplied to factories around the world will reach about 630,000 units.”

Top five markets in the world

There are five major markets representing 73 percent of the total sales volume in 2017: China, Japan, South Korea, the United States and Germany.

China has significantly expanded its leading position with the strongest demand and a market share of 36 percent of the total supply in 2017. With sales of about 138,000 industrial robots (2016-2017: +59 percent) China´s sales volume was higher than the total sales volume of Europe and the Americas combined (112,400 units).

Japan´s manufacturers delivered 56 percent of the global supply in 2017. This makes Japan the world´s number one industrial robot manufacturer. The export rate increased by 45 percent (2016-2017) as North America, China, the Republic of Korea, and Europe were target export destinations.

Republic of Korea has by far the highest robot density in the world – more than 8 times the global average amount. But, in 2017, robot supplies decreased by 4 percent to 39,732 units. The main driver of this development was the electrical/electronics industry that reduced robot installations by 18 percent in 2017. The year before, industrial robot installations peaked at 41,373 units.

United States continued to increase to a new peak in 2017 – for the seventh year in a row - and reached 33,192 units. This is 6 percent higher than in 2016. Since 2010, the driver of the growth in all manufacturing industries in the U.S. has been the ongoing trend to automate production in order to strengthen the U.S. industries in both domestic and global markets.

Germany is the fifth largest robot market in the world and number one in Europe. In 2017, the number of robots sold increased by 7 percent to 21,404 units - a new all-time record - compared to 2016 (20,074 units). Between 2014 and 2016, annual sales of industrial robots stagnated at around 20,000 units.

Robot use by industry worldwide

The automotive industry remains the largest adopter of robots globally with a share of 33 percent of the total supply in 2017 - sales increased by 22 percent.

The electrical/electronics industry has been catching up with the auto industry: Sales increased by 33 percent to a new peak of 121,300 units - accounting for a share of 32 percent of the total supply in 2017.

The metal industry (including industrial machinery, metal products and basic metals industries) is on an upswing. Share of total supply reached 10 percent with an exceptional sales growth of 55 percent in 2017.

Service robots – global sales value up 39 percent

Tokyo, Oct 18, 2018 — Sales value of service robots for professional use increased by 39 percent to US$6.6 billion. The total number sold in this robot category rose by 85 percent (2017). Logistic systems show the strongest demand, accounting for 63 percent of the total units and 36 percent of the total sales (in value) of professional service robots. Prospects for service robots remain positive, as it is also a primary field for start-ups.

Service robots for PROFESSIONAL USE – market overview

“In terms of value, the sales forecast 2019-2021 indicates a cumulative volume of around US$46 billion for the professional service segment”, says Gudrun Litzenberger, General Secretary of the IFR. “Robots for logistics, medical and field services are the most significant contributors.”

Logistic systems 69,000were installed in 2017 – this is 162 percent more than the number of units in 2016 (26,300). 6,700 automated guided vehicles in manufacturing environments and 62,200 in non-manufacturing environments are building up this increase compared to automated guided vehicles sales numbers in 2016. The value of logistic systems sales is estimated at about US$2.4 billion – an increase of 138 percent compared with 2016.

Medical robots are also well-established service robots with a considerable growth potential. The total value of sales of medical robots increased to US$1.9 billion, accounting for 29 percent of the total sales value of the professional service robots in 2017. Most important applications are robot assisted surgery or therapy and rehabilitation robots which assist people who have a disability with necessary activities or they provide therapy to people with the aim of improving their physical or cognitive functions.

Field robots The sales value, of which, mostly comprise milking robots, account for about 15 percent of the total value of professional service robot sales. Their share slightly decreased by 2 percent to US$966 million. The total number of field robots sold in 2017 was 6,375 units, accounting for a share of 6 percent of the total unit supply. A total of almost 5,400 milking robots were sold in 2017 compared to almost 5,300 units in 2016, representing a 2 percent increase. In 2016, sales decreased due to financial problems of the dairy farmers. The market is still showing the effects of this in 2017.

Agricultural robots (broad acre farming for crop, vegetable and fruit cultivation, harvesting) are getting grounded in the market. Sales increased from 190 units in 2016 to 520 units in 2017.

Personal service robots

At the same time, the market for personal service robots, which assist or entertain humans in their everyday lives, is progressing rapidly. Value was up by 27 percent to US$2.1 billion. The total number increased by 25 percent to about 8.5 million units in 2017. It is estimated that nearly 6.1 million robots were sold for domestic tasks, including vacuum cleaning, lawn-mowing, window cleaning and other types – an impressive 31 percent increase compared to 2016. The actual number might, however, be significantly higher, as the IFR survey is far from having full coverage in this domain. The value was about US$1.6 billion. Compared to 2016, this represents an increase of 30 percent.

“Robotics in personal and domestic applications has experienced strong global growth,” says Martin Haegele, Chairman of the IFR Service Robot Group and longtime author of the report. “Floor cleaning robots, robo-mowers and robots for edutainment (the latter increasingly referred to as social robots), have increasingly become part of our lives. Future product visions point to domestic robots of higher sophistication, capability and value, such as assistive robots for supporting the elderly, for helping out with household chores and for entertainment.”

World Robotics Expo 2018, Tokyo, Industrial Robots and Service Robots (recently published reports) show the successful development of the robot market in the past years as well as promising forecasts. A new record high of 381,000 units of robots were shipped globally in 2017 – an increase of 30 percent compared to the previous year. This means that the annual sales volume of industrial robots increased by 114 percent over the last five years (2013-2017).

Industrial robots are a crucial part of the progress in manufacturing industry. Robots continue to evolve thanks to an array of cutting-edge technologies, such as vision recognition, skill learning, failure prediction utilizing AI, new concept of man-machine-collaboration plus easy programming and so on. These developments will help improve productivity of manufacturing and expand the field of robot application. The IFR outlook shows that in 2021 the annual number of robots supplied to factories around the world will reach about 625,000 units.

Service robots have successfully entered our daily lives at home, in shops, in hospitals, in barns and fields, in museums and other public areas. Prospects for service robots remain positive, as it is also a primary field for start-ups.

The Robot Summit in Tokyo, a challenge and an expo. Under the theme “Robotics for Happiness”, brings together Robot Excellence from around the world, to promote a world where robots and humans successfully live and work together. It strives towards achieving a society where humans and robots cooperate and coexist.

Robots have certainly transformed industrial manufacturing. And without a doubt, the acceptance of robots as assistants in factories and in our daily lives is also on the rise.

Mobile Robot Systems --


Mobile robot systems are a popular topic of discussion but rarely found in practice, and they are high on the wish list of many industrial companies.

Meanwhile, Stäubli Electrical Connectors is already using them to great effect. Senior management there is delighted by the flexibility that mobile robot assistants bring to the assembly line. Stäubli Electrical Connectors is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of electrical connectors for all industrial sectors. The company not only sets the benchmark in terms of product quality but also leads the way in innovative production technologies.

In the manufacture of their broad-based product range, the Swiss-based specialists favor hybrid assembly systems that combine fully automated and manual workstations. The only downside to this strategy is that, if an operator is absent due to illness, the complete line comes to a standstill. In addition, unmanned night shifts are not possible.

Stäubli Robotics’ HelMo mobile robot system on the connector assembly line references itself at the work station

The company now has the optimal solution for such scenarios: the HelMo mobile robot system from Stäubli Robotics. Once trained, HelMo can handle almost any manual job on the various assembly lines. This production assistant navigates to its own workplace, decelerates or stops when human colleagues come too close, and then continues its journey as before. A more of a flexible production assistant than a robot

As soon as HelMo arrives at its workplace, it spends a few minutes prepping itself for the task in hand. The robot positions itself precisely within a tenth of a millimeter by referencing three permanent orientation points at the workstation.

HelMo then connects itself to the fixed supply sockets for electricity and compressed air by means of a multi-coupling – also from Stäubli of course – and starts its shift. To enable HelMo to operate flexibly, its designers equipped it with an automatic tool change system from Stäubli Connectors. So, today it could be the placement of connector housings and contact pins, whereas tomorrow it might be some other stage in the assembly process, which HelMo will perform if called upon. In the factory at Allschwil, HelMo is regarded less as a robot and more as an assistant who is flexible enough to help out where needed.


HelMo connects itself to the work station

The intention is not to replace human labor with mobile robots – that would make no sense from either a production or an economic perspective – but to deploy HelMo as a flexible stand-in and thereby increase the availability of hybrid assembly lines or cope with peak demand. Illness-related or other unforeseen absences among the human workforce are no longer a cause for consternation at Allschwil. Thanks to HelMo, the delivery capability of the company has been significantly optimized.

Top Industrial Robotics Companies in the World

Industrial robots perform activities or actions such as welding, painting, product inspection with speed and precision which leads to high productivity at a low cost. Working with these industry robots or automation robots increase market share. Robot manufacturers in India invest in industrial robots to perform complex tasks, such as weld inspection and optimization in the automation industry. These tasks involve sophisticated actions and motion sequences, which the robot may even have to identify itself.

There is a wide range of top industrial robotics companies in the world, who use industrial robots to suit industry requirements and can work continuously for years, consistently meeting high manufacturing quality standards. Industrial robotics have become an indispensable part of manufacturing due to their persistent accuracy. We can expect a high level of expertise, efficiency from the industrial robotics as they have attained a high value preference in the field of industrial automation.

Here we have listed out the top industrial robotics companies in the world:

  •  ABB Ltd.
  •  Mitsubishi
  •  Fanuc Corp.
  •  Yaskawa Electric Corp.
  •  Adept Technology Inc.
  •  Apex Automation and Robotics
  •  Aurotek Corp.
  •  Stäubli
  •  Kawasaki Robotics Inc.
  •  Rockwell Automation Inc.


Revolutionary paradigm shifts owing to the robotics developments worldwide is continuously making new standpoints every now and then. With the help of Artificial Intelligence, the technology is producing groundbreaking results every second. Robotics is defining intelligence in its own vibrant style. With every passing day more and more robots are inculcated into our lives only to make them easier and comfortable than they were before. New technological advancements have also redefined the dynamics of ownership, market sphere and competition today. The limitless possibilities of robots are now exchanging different roles in the society.

With these developments in place, we bring you a list of the top 10 robotics companies in the world with an astonishing potential to transform this space.

  1. iRobot


Founded in 1990 by three MIT graduates, this company aims at building robots for space exploration and military defense along with consumer robots. It focuses on consumer robots for inside and outside chores in this day and age with the award-winning Roomba® Vacuuming Robot and the Braava® family of mopping robots. Being the leading consumer robot company, it is also entering into building smart homes.

  1. GreyOrange


It designs and manufactures advanced robotic system for logistics and supply chain management including warehouse automation and fulfillment centers. Founded in 2011, GreyOrange has its headquarters in Singapore but the empire extends to India, Hong Kong, Japan, Germany and UAE. 

  1. Epson Robots


It is the king of the industrial robotic market center with its leading factory automation products and solutions. It offered the world with the first PC-based controller called the RC520 and were the first in offering Active X controls. Epson robots boast of their SCARA robots that are second in the list of robots judged on the basis of performance. 

  1. Rethink Robotics


Rethink robotics brought a boom in the arena of collaborative robots. Before they launched their collaborative robot called Baxter in 2012, the robots were handled by skilled technicians. And now the company has redefined the market and investment strategy in the field of robotics. 

  1. Alphabet Inc


Google repainted the canvas of robotics market when it launched its driverless cars project in 2009 under the name of Wayamo whose parent company is Alphabet Inc. The first successful test drive was held in 2017. Google has also put together its own custom driverless vehicle. The company has now acquired Boston Dynamics, Schaft and Nest to boost its portfolio in robotics.

  1. DJI


DJI is into flying camera stabilization systems that govern the camera placement and motion. The company’s headquarters are in China’s Silicon Valley, Shenzhen. They ensure high-end professional photography experience. Apart from this, it focuses on drones and unmanned aerial vehicle manufacturing. 

  1. Locus Robotics


Locus Robotics is another company with a warehouse automation specialization. The tagline on their website says “We know a lot about robots we also know a lot about the warehouse.” This clearly mentions their area of work. They claim to support the evolving needs of the e-commerce industry. The company offers autonomous, collaborative robots that work alongside humans.



Started off as a mechanical workshop by Friedrich Schunk, the company is known for its clamping technology and gripping systems. It is the world’s no. 1 company in gripping systems and hydraulic expansion technology.

9.Vex Robotics


The company is majorly into making tools for educators and mentors to facilitate problem-solving. They focus on STEM learning and create tools for problem-solving. STEM points to robotics where it relates to all the aspects of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. It builds tools that are of much use for the beginners.

  1. Autonomous Solutions


They call themselves the world leader in vendor-independent vehicle automation systems. The company has clients of its automation products from around the world including Anglo American, Rio Tinto Ford Motor Company, Luke Air Force Base and government agencies like Los Angeles Police Department. The company has automated around 75 vehicle types in 9 industries. Ground Vehicle Automation is the field they have an edge on.

Robotics and Construction Automation

8 companies bringing robotics and automation to construction

OK, so maybe we’re not quite to the point where Skynet takes over and the battle for humanity begins, but there’s no doubt that robotics and automation are making their way further into our lives than ever before, including in construction. Thanks to new technologies, simple and/or rote tasks on and off the jobsite could soon be done almost completely by machine, saving time and money and freeing up workers to tackle more complex tasks. While on the other hand, modularization and prefab are creating more efficient end-to-end solutions for owners and developers.

These are the 8 companies that are using machines to transform the built world.

Construction Robotics

We’ve featured Victor, NY-based Construction Robotics and its SAM100 masonry robot on our site a couple of times. The latest version, SAM100 OS 2.0, can lay up to 350 bricks per hour, and it can tackle either a standard brick pattern or soldier courses, with just a little help from a human technician who inputs instructions. SAM has already worked on prominent projects such as The Lab School in Washington, DC, and with major contracting and masonry firms such as Clark Construction Group and Wasco, picking up the slack on tedious projects as the nation’s bricklaying workforce ages and shrinks.

Ekso Bionics

If there’s any chance of making Ripley’s P-5000 Power Loader in Aliens a reality, it’s in Ekso Bionics’ hands. The company, located in the San Francisco area, specializes in the field of wearable robotics, creating everything from exoskeletons to improve the mobility of those with spinal-cord injuries to robotic arms that can reduce the repetitive-stress injuries inherent in physical construction work by absorbing most of the bucking and kicking of heavy-duty tools.


Caterpillar has made notable investments in automation, 3-D printing, and robotics. Most recently, the company invested with drone-software developer Airware to improve and automate job-site analytics and gain better insight into the performance its heavy equipment in various conditions. And, back in October of last year, it invested in Clearpath Robotics, which is working on autonomous solutions for manufacturing facilities.


Cofounded by 19-year-old wunderkind Chris Kelsey and Fernando De Los RiosCazza aims to revolutionize the entire construction process through 3-D printing. The company is designing “minitanks”: 3-D printing cranes capable of layering 2,153 square feet of concrete per day, which can be used to build nearly “any structure you look at that was conventionally constructed,” Kelsey says, according to CNN. The 3-D printing method will drastically reduce the amount of time and labor needed for construction projects, and it will get its first big test soon, for Cazza recently made headlines after announcing plans to build the world’s first 3-D-printed skyscraper, in the United Arab Emirates, where the company is headquartered.

Piaggio Fast Forward

One day, small robots or drones could be doing some of the heavy lifting on job sites, possibly thanks to Piaggio Fast Forward. The company is focused on future mobility, and its first product is Gita, a 22-pound robot designed to follow its owner around carrying cargo, mapping its surroundings as it goes so that it can make return trips independently, if necessary.

 Full Stack Modular / DIRTT / Hill Group

Prefabrication and modularization are more familiar forms of automation, but there’s no question that they’ve enhanced the efficiency of certain construction projects. Roger Krulak, founder and CEO of Full Stack Modular

Sarah Putman, a manufacturer’s representative at DIRTT; and Dave Pikey, vice president of corporate technology for The Hill Group, spoke on a panel at last year’s BuiltWorlds Rise of Machines Conference to examine modularization on different scales, from prefabricated panels to modular bathrooms to larger modular apartment buildings. They covered best practices for a field of the industry that, like the others mentioned here, still has a lot of room for future ingenuity.

3 Robotics Stocks to Consider Buying in 2018

These robot stocks are poised to profit from the trends of increasing factory automation and growing consumer adoption of bots to perform household tasks.

The robot revolution has arrived!

While industrial robots have been used to increase the efficiency of factories for decades, growth in this category has recently revved up, thanks to technological advances. The market expanded 18% in dollar value and 16% in number of units sold in 2016, according to the International Federation of Robotics, with the IFR forecasting an average of 15% annual growth in units through 2020.

Jetsons-like Rosie, who will do all your housekeeping, isn't here yet, but sales of consumer robots that perform specific tasks, such as vacuuming, have taken off in recent years. In the professional service realm, robots are increasingly being used to perform surgery -- an application pioneered by Intuitive Surgical -- while new uses continue to emerge.

Growth in robotics promises to accelerate as artificial intelligence (AI) is increasingly used to "smarten" up robots.

There are various ways to play the rise of the robots, including investing in companies that are poised to benefit from increased use of them (think and its fulfillment center network). Our focus here, however, is on companies that make robots or components that go into them and that are at least close to pure plays on automation. 

Three top stocks that meet this criterion and are worth considering buying are:

Industrial robot maker FANUC (NASDAQOTH:FANUY)

Consumer cleaning robot leader iRobot (NASDAQ:IRBT)

Machine vision specialist Cognex (NASDAQ:CGNX).


Here's an overview of the companies and their stocks

There's reason to believe these companies could grow earnings faster over the next five years than Wall Street is projecting. iRobot and Cognex have been regularly cruising by analysts' estimates. FANUC is based in Japan and trades over the counter (OTC) in the U.S., so analyst coverage in the U.S. are very light.

FANUC: Japan-based manufacturer of industrial robots

FANUC is a pure play on industrial automation and targets a wide range of industries. The company is the top dog in the industrial robot space in the U.S, and perhaps No. 2 globally, behind Switzerland's ABB. (Market share stats vary by source.) It has locations around the world, including a big presence in the Detroit area, as the company does much work for automakers.

To keep up with growing demand for automation of factories and other types of facilities, FANUC is planning to open a new factory in August 2018 that will ramp its robot production capacity from 6,000 to 11,000 units per month. Given these plans, it might not be surprising that sales are booming. In the first half of its fiscal year ended in September, FANUC's revenue jumped 35.2% and net income soared 42.5% year over year, indicating an expanding profit margin. 

The company had $7.3 billion in cash at the end of the last quarter and a manageable debt-to-equity ratio of 16.4%. FANUC sports a profit margin of 24.4% for the trailing 12 months, which is far superior to the other big players in industrial automation: ABB, Japan's Yaskawa, and Germany-based KUKA, which is now nearly 95% owned by a China's Midea Group, have profit margins of 7.8%, 6.6%, and 2.5%, respectively.

Cognex: A somewhat under-the-radar play on industrial automation 

Cognex -- whose name is derived from "cognition experts" -- specializes in making machine-vision systems used to automate factories, warehouses, and distribution centers. So like FANUC, it's a play on industrial automation. It can also be thought of as play on the fast-growing consumer electronics industry; in its most recent quarter, revenue from this market was a "substantial contributor to growth" both year over year and sequentially. Outside of electronics, year-over-year revenue growth was strong across geographic regions and in many industries, including automotive and logistics. 

Cognex doesn't have the name recognition of the hot tech stocks, probably because it's a component maker and lacks the "sexy" factor. However, its financial performance could make even a robot's heart start pumping. In the third quarter, revenue surged 76%, operating income soared 102%, and EPS jumped 87% from the year-ago period. Cognex has a substantial cash stash and no debt.

Like iRobot, Cognex is based in the Boston area, which isn't just a coincidence. Beantown has a reputation as a robotics hub, thanks largely to being home to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The founder of Cognex and the founder-CEO of iRobot are MIT-educated. 

iRobot: The pioneer in consumer cleaning robots<

iRobot is best known for its Roomba vacuuming robot, though it also makes other cleaning bots. The company is developing a robotic lawn mower, and other task-specific robots are likely on the horizon. The stock is the only pure play on consumer robotics trading on a U.S. exchange.

In the third quarter, iRobot's revenue increased 22% year over year, powered by 34% revenue growth in the U.S. Adjusted for one-time factors, earnings per share (EPS) declined 26%. This drop didn't stem from gross margin falling, which would be worrisome because that often indicates pricing pressure. The decline was driven by iRobot ramping up its spending on research and development (R&D) and on sales and marketing to help fuel its continued growth. The company is in good shape financially, as it had $241.8 million in cash and no debt at the end of last quarter. 

Competition in the fast-growing robotic vacuum space has been intensifying, with SharkNinja the main competitor to watch. In September, the privately held appliance maker launched a competitively priced product. It remains to be seen how successful competitors will be at sweeping away market share from iRobot, which remains dominant in the market, thanks to it constantly improving its products. There's likely room for several players because the total addressable market is still largely untapped: U.S. household penetration of robotic vacuums is less than 10%, and international penetration is even lower, according to iRobot.

Investor takeaway

There's something to like about FANUC, iRobot, and Cognex, though the latter is probably my favorite of the group. It has a robust long-term projected EPS growth rate of 27.4% combined with an attractive valuation relative to its earnings growth -- a PEG of 0.6 is low. iRobot is likely the riskiest of the trio, as it probably has the weakest moat.

3 Warehouse Automation Stocks to Buy Today

Honeywell International, Cognex Corporation, and KION Group are backdoor ways to play the e-commerce and e-fulfillment sector.

Investing in the e-commerce sector isn't just about buying e-tailers or software companies. You can also get exposure by buying stock in companies that provide solutions for the retailers and e-tailers building out their e-fulfillment capabilities. This is where warehouse automation comes in: If a company is going to offer e-commerce, it's going to need a warehouse, and a technologically integrated one at that. Here's how you can make money from this hot sector of the economy.

As you can see below, e-commerce sales continue to grow at a mid-teens clip, and are rising as a percentage of retail sales. These trends bode well for companies like diversified industrial Honeywell International (NYSE: HON), machine vision company Cognex Corporation (NASDAQ: CGNX), and -- for those investors willing to look further afield -- Germany's KION Group AG.

Honeywell International

Honeywell is best known for its aerospace segment, and rightly so. But, if you look at where the company is raising guidance this year; safety and productivity solutions (SPS) stands out. Even though the segment was only responsible for around 11% of profit from the second quarter, it's actually responsible for 19% of the increase in Honeywell's earnings guidance so far in 2018. 

The key to the 11% organic revenue growth from SPS in the second quarter was Honeywell Intelligrated, a company that helps businesses with e-fulfillment in their distribution centers and includes customers like Intelligrated's orders were up a whopping 40% in the second quarter.

On the second-quarter earnings call, CEO Darius Adamczyk outlined some of Intelligrated's work for Amazon, including thousands of meters of material-handling equipment including high-speed sorters and conveyors.

Adamczyk believes Intelligrated will "turn out to be probably the best acquisition that we've ever done and I continue to feel very strongly about that." Moreover, Adamczyk said the strong growth in orders was "not surprising to us," and added that he is "very bullish about a lot more growth. So you should expect kind of double-digit orders growth in the second half as well." Exciting days ahead.

Although Honeywell isn't a pure-play warehouse automation or e-fulfillment stock, its Intelligrated business is a key driver of the increase in guidance for the stock, and therefore a key swing factor in an investment.

Cognex Corporation

The company offers investors a way to invest in two hot investing trends with one stock: e-commerce and robotics. Cognex is the world leader in machine vision solutions. Its products are well known to early adopters of automation technology, including the automotive and semiconductor industries, although in recent years it has grown strongly through large deals with consumer electronics companies such as Apple -- its largest single customer. 

Among the key drivers of the growth of machine vision in factory automation are robotics and the increasing sophistication of automation, driven by the Internet of Things (IoT). Automotive and consumer electronics remain Cognex's key end markets, but its fastest-growing market is logistics, driven by "retail and e-commerce fulfillment," according to CEO Rob Willett.

Cognex's logistics sales -- that is, the sales of its machine vision systems to help e-fulfillment centers function better-- make up only 10% of its current sales, but are growing in excess of 50% in 2018, and according to Willett, could continue to grow at 50% over the long term. In other words, a large part of Cognex's growth is going to come from logistics in the coming years.

Introducing KION Group

Last but not least, Germany's KION Group (NASDAQOTH: KIGRY) is worthy of consideration. The company is best known for its industrial trucks (forklifts and warehouse equipment), and describes itself as the market leader in Europe. However, in June 2016 -- just 10 days before Honeywell signed an agreement to buy Intelligrated -- KION announced it was buying Intelligrated's rival Dematic, which provides warehouse automation and controls solutions. KION boasts the leading position in North America in supply chain solutions, and the No. 3 position in Europe.

You can see the impact on KION's growth rate in the chart below, which shows two months' worth of revenue and earnings from Dematic in 2016. Dematic now comprises KION's supply chain solutions, or SCS, segment.

Pre-Dematic (2012-2015), KION's compound annual growth rate was just 3.7%, and the company's EBIT (earnings before interest and taxes) margin was struggling to expand. However, Dematic has added organic revenue growth to the equation. SCS contributed 22% of total segment EBIT in 2017, and KION management expects industrial trucks and services EBIT to grow in the range of 1.7%-7% in 2018, compared to SCS EBIT growth in the range of 0%-19%.


ROBO Global Robotics and Automation Index ETF (ROBO) Quote & Summary Data

ROBO $36.5161

Today's High / Low $ 36.5555 / $ 36.0801

Share Volume 140,558

52 Week High / Low $ 46.20 / $ 34.17

Market Cap $167,974,060


Why are industrial robots flying off the shelves at an unprecedented rate?

Significant factors include advancements in machine learning and computer vision, since the prospect of new functionality leads to more use cases and increased demand. In addition, the maturation of 3D printing technology and the soaring interest in collaborative robots also deserve some of the credit.

What’s interesting is that according to experts, the record demand for robots is actually largely in response to the notable decline in unit costs.

ARK Investment Management, a leading researcher in this market, says that industrial robot costs are expected to drop a solid 65% between 2015 and 2025. Impressively, the cost per robot will plunge from $31,000 to $11,000 over that decade of time.


Why are unit costs dropping so fast?

For ARK, such price shifts account for the workings of Wright’s Law, which states: “for every cumulative doubling in number of units produced, costs will decline by a consistent percentage”. In the field of robotics that cost decline, also known as the “learning rate”, has been around 50%.

As industrial robotic operations grow, especially in the automotive industry, the manufacturing sector continues to save millions. Meanwhile, working conditions improve as robots take mundane, repetitive, and dangerous task loads from human workers.

At present, the largest market share of industrial robots is held in the Asia-Pacific region – namely, China, Japan, Korea, and India. But as current trends suggest, these falling prices will only steer further global reach.

3 Top Robotic-Surgery Stocks to Consider Buying Now

If scalpel-wielding robots no longer frighten you, here are three stocks you might want to buy now, and one more to keep your eyes on:
Robotic surgery might seem like futuristic technology, but the first generation of scalpel-wielding robots are already old enough to vote. While the industry trailblazer is still a top stock to buy in this space, a handful of interesting start-ups are finally carving out their own share of a growing market.

Should investors focus on the clear leader in this space, Intuitive Surgical, Inc. (NASDAQ:ISRG), or take a chance on a fledgling start-up?  


Market Cap

2017 Total Revenue

Intuitive Surgical, Inc.

$48.3 billion

$3.1 billion

Mazor Robotics Ltd. (NASDAQ:MZOR)

$1.7 billion

$65.0 million

TransEnterix Inc. (NYSEMKT:TRXC)

$326 million

$7.1 million

Corindus Vascular Robotics Inc. (NYSEMKT:CVRS)

$294 million

$9.7 million

To help you make that determination on your own, let's look at the top reasons to consider buying these stocks.

1. Intuitive Surgical: Still blazing new trails

Sooner or later it's going to be hard to find a reputable hospital that doesn't already have one of Intuitive Surgical's da Vinci systems, but that hasn't dampened enthusiasm for the stock. Shares have been trading at a sky-high 44 times this year's earnings expectations.

Intuitive Surgical employs a "razor-and-blade" business model, with da Vinci systems acting as razors and the disposable instruments they hold as blades. Now that there are 4,400 "razors" installed in hospitals worldwide, the company makes most of its money selling "blades" designed to perform a growing number of procedures.

Rapid growth among more recently approved procedures is a key reason investors are willing to pay through the nose for Intuitive shares right now. With a diverse range of applications, an unexpected hit to one or two probably won't cause the company to stumble. For example, gynecological procedures have risen steadily in recent years, but as a proportion of total procedures performed, the segment fell from 60% in 2012 to just 39% of the total last year.

Although plenty of competitors would like a slice of Intuitive's pie, high switching costs make breaking into an established market nearly impossible. Hospitals are increasingly willing to invest millions into new da Vinci systems because it keeps getting easier to hire surgeons already trained to use them. During the last three months of 2017, Intuitive placed 216 da Vinci robots, a 33% increase over the previous year's period.

Of course, I'm not the first person to notice how quickly Intuitive is growing. The stock has been trading at a nosebleed-inducing 43 times forward earnings estimates. To beat the market with a stock purchase at this level, the company needs to maintain its current growth rate for many years to come.

  1. Mazor Robotics: Built-in demand

Luckily for Israeli company Mazor Robotics, spinal surgery is one area Intuitive hasn't sewn up yet. The company's launched its second system, called Mazor X, in 2016. The world's largest medical-device maker, Medtronic plc (NYSE:MDT), sells a lot of spinal repair devices, and the Mazor X can help install them with a level of precision that human hands just can't match.

Mazor strengthened its value proposition last year with a study that showed robotic guided spinal surgeries lead to far fewer costly complications. With this in mind, it's no wonder Medtronic sales reps placed an impressive 72 Mazor X systems in hospitals last year. 

Persuading hospitals to invest in a robotic surgical system would be an uphill battle for Mazor on its own, but the Medtronic tie-up changes everything. Hospital administrators already familiar with Medtronic's spinal repair devices would be more easily convinced by a sales rep from the same company than an Israeli surgical robot maker they've probably never heard of. 

Mazor's also benefiting from a study that shows spinal repair implants placed by robotic systems are far less likely to result in complications that eventually cost hospitals a bundle. 

With Medtronic doing the heavy lifting, Mazor's total operating expenses rose just 22% last year. Total revenue doubled to $65 million, which allowed the company to squeeze out a profit in the fourth quarter. Mazor Robotics is just starting to generate a profit, so price-to-earnings ratios won't tell us much. At around 24.6 times trailing sales, the stock isn't a bargain, but it's certainly worth considering.

3. Corindus Vascular Robotics: Radiologists rejoice

If you think the lead bibs you have to put on before an X-ray are uncomfortable, imagine performing surgery in one. Repetitive stress injuries from operating in heavy protective gear shorten far too many interventional radiology careers, and malignancies arising from all that radiation exposure ruin a lot of retirement plans. 

Corindus Vascular Robotics might have the most enthusiastic group of intended end users across the healthcare spectrum. The CorPath GRX system allows radiologists to sit at a comfortable distance from the action.

Corindus isn't as far along as Mazor, but the ball is rolling. During the fourth quarter of 2017, the company placed six new CorPath systems, raising the total installed base to 33. Corindus also employs a razor-and-blade business model and shipped 455 of the cassettes that need to be replaced after each procedure.

In February, the FDA cleared the CorPath for use in peripheral vascular interventions, which will significantly increase the number of potential patients CorPath can perform. It's also the first system to receive FDA clearance for an automated robotic movement. Allowing surgeons to "navigate to a targeted lesion by automatically rotating the guidewire upon joystick retraction" isn't something you've seen in popular depictions of robots performing surgery on their own, but it's the first official step in that direction.

In the fourth quarter last year, Corindus lost $8 million after recording just $4.2 million in revenue. If system installations and procedure volume placements continue along their recent trajectory, this company's tiny $279 million market cap could swell several times over in a few short years. Proceeds from a less than terrific financing arrangement could provide enough liquidity to get the job done. Cautious investors will want to wait for at least one more positive quarterly report, but intrepid investors will want to consider buying this stock right now. 

One to watch

TransEnterix stock rocketed last fall after the company received U.S. clearance for its Senhance robotic system, which is the first to provide feedback that mimics what surgeons would feel if they were performing the surgery directly.

Senhance's haptic feedback system is popular with surgeons who have used it, and its reusable instruments should be a hit with hospital purchasing departments. To top it off, its arms can be moved independently of each other to accommodate various operating room setups.

Although TransEnterix gave hospitals plenty of reasons to buy a Senhance, uptake has been dismal.

Senhance had a European marketing approval and a different name when an Italian device maker sold it to TransEnterix for $99.8 million in 2015. In 2017, the company received revenue related to just four Senhance systems installed worldwide.

When Transenterix reported 2017 earnings in March, management proudly boasted of two Senhance sales so far in 2018. Baby steps in the right direction are encouraging, but cautious investors will want to wait for a few more confident strides before they even consider buying this robotic-surgery stock.


Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs) at a Glance

ETFs contain a basket of assets, including potentially stocks, bonds, and currencies. Most ETFs – and all of the funds offered by Global X – track an index with a published methodology, explaining the investment approach. Other potential advantages of index ETFs include being generally more tax efficient than comparable traditional mutual funds, transparent daily holdings, and the ability to be traded intraday during market hours.

Robotics & Artificial Intelligence ETF

The Global X Robotics & Artificial Intelligence ETF (BOTZ)


The Global X Robotics & Artificial Intelligence ETF (BOTZ) seeks to invest in companies that potentially stand to benefit from increased adoption and utilization of robotics and artificial intelligence (AI), including those involved with industrial robotics and automation, non-industrial robots, and autonomous vehicles.


The Global X Robotics & Artificial Intelligence ETF (BOTZ) seeks to provide investment results that correspond generally to the price and yield performance, before fees and expenses, of the Indxx Global Robotics & Artificial Intelligence Thematic Index.


High Growth Potential

BOTZ enables investors to access high growth potential through companies involved in the ideation, design, creation and application of programmable automated devices.

Unconstrained Approach

BOTZ's composition transcends classic sector, industry, and geographic classifications by tracking an emerging theme.

ETF Efficiency

In a single trade, BOTZ delivers access to dozens of companies with high exposure to the robotics and AI theme.

FUND DETAILS As of 11/15/18



Primary Exchange






Bloomberg Index Ticker


Net Assets



As of 11/15/18


Net Asset Value


Closing Price


5 Years




Since Inception




Cumulative return is the aggregate amount that an investment has gained or lost over time. Annualized Return is the average return gained or lost by an investment each year over a given time period.

The performance data quoted represents past performance. Past performance does not guarantee future results. The investment return and principal value of an investment will fluctuate so that an investor's shares, when sold or redeemed, may be worth more or less than their original cost and current performance may be lower or higher than the performance quoted.


Return on Equity 



Average Market Cap 

$14,291.00 M







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These are Leading Companies in the Development of Robotics and AI
We believe that robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) is a transformational technological development with the potential to disrupt a range of industries over the coming decades. To further explore this theme, we took a deeper dive into examples of companies leading in four categories targeted by the Global X Robotics and Artificial Intelligence ETF (BOTZ):
  1. Industrial Robotics and Automation
  2. Non-Industrial Robotics
  3. Unmanned Vehicles and Drones
  4. Artificial Intelligence

Contact Us for latest ideas on how to profit from Robotics and AI