The robot end effector market is projected to grow from USD 1.9 billion in 2021 to USD 4.4 billion by 2026; it is expected to grow at a CAGR of 18.8% during the forecast period. Owing to COVID-19, the robot end effector market is estimated to face headwinds for 2021–2022. Steady deployment of robots in manufacturing industries is facilitating the growth for robot end effectors. With the growing demand and adoption of collaborative robots, the demand for collaborative end effectors is also increasing. This scenario is observed in the consumer goods industry, specifically packaging, where the shape, size, surface, or weight of the packaging is constantly changing. Meanwhile, 3D printed end effectors are gaining more presence across the industry. With the use of proper materials, end effectors manufactured using 3D printing are more flexible and strong enough for their intended purpose. Introduction of programmable end effectors and, research and ongoing developments in soft grippers and vacuum technology for suction cups and grippers for industries with special needs such as food and beverages, and pharmaceuticals and cosmetics (subjected to delicate work pieces and careful handling) expected to provide market opportunities for robot end effectors.
Market for grippers is projected to have the highest share during the forecast period; Grippers are estimated to account for the largest market share throughout the forecast period, in terms of value. The market for grippers is largely driven by its handling and assembly application in a wide range of work pieces considering their various shapes and size. Various types of grippers namely, electric, magnetic, and mechanical grippers are designed for different types of handling and assembly applications based on the industry and operational environment. Hence, grippers are used from heavy industries (automotive, metals and machinery) to non-heavy industries (food and beverages, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics) as well as in service industries (healthcare and cleaning), which broadens its scope. For instance, the magnetic grippers are exclusively used to handle ferromagnetic materials and are especially useful in gripping objects with holes or nets. The electrical grippers are fully programmable and hence have more state of operations and are ideal for applications that need high speed and moderate gripping force. Whereas mechanical grippers are considered the best fit for handling single component forms, which means they are not suitable for a facility that produces a lot of low volume/high mix pieces. This gripper style also has the limited force and position power, and it operates with compressed air.
Market for processing application to grow at highest CAGR during the forecast period; The market for processing applications, in terms of value, is projected to grow at the highest CAGR during the forecast period. Penetration of automation in SMEs and increase in adoption of end effector devices for carrying out applications such as polishing, buffing, punching, and grinding are the main drivers for this growth. The automotive, precision engineering and optics, and metals and machinery industries are projected to account for the largest market share for processing applications throughout the forecast period. The growth is driven by rising automation in this industry for various applications such as grinding, milling, deburring, and polishing processes. New developments are taking place for software driven end effectors for processing application. For instance, polishing tools with in-built programming are in high demand due to their ease of use and quick switching applications. Hence, the market for processing application is expected to grow at a faster rate during the forecast period.
Market in APAC estimated to grow at the fastest rate during the forecast period; APAC is expected to adopt robot end effectors at a fast rate driven by increasing investment in automation by automotive, and electrical & electronics companies, especially in countries such as China, South Korea, and India. This region is considered a major manufacturing hub in the world, which is expected to provide ample growth opportunities to the end effector market. The end effector market in APAC is expected to witness higher growth than the matured markets in Europe and North America due to low production costs, lenient emission and safety norms, and government initiatives for foreign direct investments (FDIs). Additionally, technological advancements in the field of robotics made by the regional players further provide opportunities for introducing robot end effectors for SMEs in the food and beverage industry. Also, the increasing adoption of collaborative robots in industries such as wood and furniture and automotive is another key trend, which has fueled the demand for robot end effectors in the region. Therefore, with the increasing demand for collaborative robots, strong growth for collaborative end effectors is expected in APAC. Hence, it is expected that APAC will dominate the market of robot end effectors during the forecast period.