Guest Blog: Robotic trends in the healthcare sector for 2020
From recreational robots such as drones, to critical operational robots in the medical field, robotic technology is changing our daily lives.
In this article, Stewart Goulding, Managing Director at precision drive system supplier Electro Mechanical Systems (EMS), explores some current trends that are set to appear in 2020.
Robots are everywhere — from robotic wearables, hands, and arms, to companion robots, medical devices, and even biomorphic drones that model the behaviour of bees.
In recent years, a significant focus has been placed on revolutionising non-invasive and minimally invasive surgery. As a result, a deluge of new surgical robots have become market-ready.
Due to more accurate diagnosis methods, the amount of non-invasive and minimally invasive surgeries has skyrocketed. This is putting an increasing strain, both physically and organisationally, on surgeons that carry out these procedures. Robot alternatives, therefore, offer an advantage to the public health service.
As such, these robots must be as accurate and reliable as possible to ensure that they can help ease the strain on the medical system. For example, endoscopy, which is a minimally invasive surgery that allows doctors to inspect the inside of a patient, is one procedure that robots have been developed to support.
Endoscopy robots must be compact and consistently precise. For this reason, when French company EndoControl was developing its new endoscopy ViKY system, it chose a range of FAULHABER brushless DC-motors, which help to achieve the required precision and consistency.
With a complimentary gearhead fitted these motors have a broad selection of reduction ratios available ranging from approximately 3:1 to 1500:1, which gives extensive adjustment of the speed and torque of the device. In the ViKY systems, up to 700 mNm of precise movement was achieved using FAULHABER dirve systems.
These types of developments are crucial in ensuring medical facilities can cope with the rising number of surgeries, all while reducing fatigue, preserving surgeon wellbeing and avoiding burn out.
Cobots in the workplace
Since arriving on the scene in the mid-2010s cobots, or collaborative robots, have also grown in prominence. Cobots offer a variety of opportunities for production lines, particularly to enable humans and robots to complement each other, all while working alongside one another safely. The new trend for these styles of robots is making them more accessible, with more cost-effective options now allowing for greater distribution and use.
In fact, cobots can reduce the human input on production by up to 50 per cent. With the current skills gap having cost UK organisations £6.3 billion over the past twelve months, being able to integrate cobots and other robotic applications has the potential to positively impact the economy.
So, whether it’s across production lines or in surgical theatres, robotic applications are helping to provide innovative and reliable methods of working for all involved. Who knows what the future will hold in 2020 and beyond, but for now, advanced robots are here to stay.
Founded in 1985, EMS has established itself as the leading supplier of high-quality precision small DC motors and linear actuators in the UK. It is a bespoke product manufacturer and is the sole UK distributor for the FAULHABER Group, as well as MPS and Piezomotor. EMS supplies a wide range of industries, including the medical device, aerospace, defence and military sectors.