Smart robotics offer an opportunity for the Middle East to transform USD 17 billion supply chain and manage future demands

Reshoring of manufacturing and smart automation robotics could localize pharmaceutical and agricultural production, securing the Middle East supply chain — says Neil Colquhoun

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — 13 July 2020 — This pandemic period has made it apparent that being reliant on a few countries for production means that when the supply chains break down, countries face the situation of having a shortage of supply. By reshoring and localizing production, these challenges can be limited in the event of any future crises.

Reshoring and the further development of local manufacturing is aligned with Middle East transformation agendas, as it would see manufacturing driving diversified economic growth and enabling job creation. This is particularly true of UAE’s Vision 2021 and Strategy for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s Saudi Vision 2030, and Egypt’s Vision 2030.

Automated robotics are set to play a major role in supporting reshoring and local manufacturing. As automated robotics have become more accessible and affordable, they are now ideal for small companies, manufacturers, and the agricultural industry.

In factories, robots could enable enhanced production of medicines and personal protective equipment and in agricultural production, robots could help to plant, monitor and harvest crops safer, faster and more efficiently. Some industry experts expect robots to take on dangerous or routine tasks, working alongside people to increase production, free up valuable employee time, and allow for more business opportunities.

Robotics allows for the creation of new domestic jobs through reshoring, as businesses bring their production and distribution home. A new channel of jobs and opportunities in programming, engineering, AI and technology-based careers could also be created as robot fleets need to be programmed and managed.

By freeing up valuable human resources, it also allows companies and businesses to re-train their staff in skilled and specialist areas. The use of ‘cobots’ can actually result in a higher paid, highly skilled, domestic labour force.

Epson fosters the Middle East’s smart robotics future

As a trusted partner in automation, Epson brings more than 35 years of experience as one of the world’s leading robotics companies and offers more than 40 robots in the Middle East that provide ease of use, reliability, performance, and overall value.

The Epson T3 SCARA Robots provide an affordable and easy-to-set-up automation, with a starting point at about USD 8,500. The  VT6-L 6 axis robot, provides the automation of simple, repetitive tasks, that humans may find tedious. The competitively priced VT6-L is a highly compact production robot that’s reliable and easy to install.

Middle East manufacturers can find a smart alternative to part feeders with the Epson Parts Feeder series, which works with a wide variety of parts without purchasing new equipment and can eliminate costly, time-consuming retooling. In addition, the flexible and compact C4 6-Axis robot can be used from blood sample handling to medical instrument kitting.

Further supporting manufacturing innovation and young talent development, Epson has hosted robotics competitions for educational institutions across Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Russia. With robotics set to be an important part of the future of industry, education is of paramount importance. Epson supports universities and actively works to encourage the development of new applications using robotics. 

With the Middle East’s smart factory automation market set to reach a record-high of USD 17 billion in 2020, according to Modor Intelligence, now is the time for the region’s manufacturers to adopt advanced robotics to drive innovation and support business continuity.

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