want to pursue bringing them to market? ‘In the mobile space, there’s a

lot of push for us to develop new products for certain markets, but the push is during this crisis and whether that need will continue past the crisis is the real question,’ Wise continued. ‘Tere’s a lot of ambiguity there.’ She added that the need for

decontamination robots might continue past this pandemic, but that it’s not clear whether all the new applications of robots and automation are here to stay.

Supply chains Another discussion point was whether the disruptions to supply chains will change the way companies do business. Milton Guerry, president of Schunk and of the International Federation of Robotics, commented that most successful companies will look at how efficient their supply chains are after the crisis. Guerry felt that there will

be some snap-back to the traditional supply chains, but that bringing supply closer to consumption has benefits. Cicco added that companies

might now consider on-shoring as more attractive, although he said that firms have been considering doing so for a while. ‘Peoples’ feelings are

changing on a daily basis,’ Cicco said, adding that the situation is continuously evolving. He stated that the pandemic is going to have a lasting impact on robotics firms and the way they do business and their supply chains.

Te future Te panel were asked whether there were changes that the companies had implemented during the pandemic that they might carry forward. Wise said that Fetch Robotics was deploying robots with customers over Skype at the moment to avoid Fetch engineers having to be on-site. Tis practice will continue, Wise hopes, because it’s going so well. Fetch Robotics is a software company, so is reasonably | @imveurope

well set up for dealing with customers remotely. It works in the cloud so can deploy robots without sending engineers to customer sites. Wise said that after the crisis,

there will be a lot of interest in flexible automation. Most of the systems Fetch Robotics has deployed recently have been

reconfigured in some way to suit the situation. She advised companies

thinking about installing automation systems to get in contact with suppliers now to get automation projects started. ‘When we come out of lockdown and move into a transition period, there’s

going to be a long line of people... wanting to kick off an automation project,’ Wise continued. Companies looking to install

an automation system should start planning now to avoid waiting six months because of high demand after the lockdown eases, she advised. O

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VT-43_Effektiv_LX-Serie_140x195_IMVE_EN.indd 1 21.04.2020 06:52:39 JUNE/JULY 2020 IMAGING AND MACHINE VISION EUROPE 23

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