The falling cost of industrial robots will allow manufacturers to use them to replace more factory workers over the next decade while lowering labour costs, according to new research.
Robots now perform roughly 10% of manufacturing tasks that can be done by machines, according to the Boston Consulting Group. The management consulting firm projected that to rise to about 25% of such "automatable" tasks by 2025.
In turn, labour costs stand to drop by 16% on average globally over that time, according to the research.
The shift will mean an increasing demand for skilled workers who can operate the machines, said Hal Sirkin, a senior partner at Boston Consulting.
Factory workers "will be higher paid but there will be fewer of them", Sirkin said.
The research found a tipping point for installing robots: Companies tend to start thinking about replacing workers when the costs of owning and operating a system come at a 15% discount to employing a human counterpart.