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According to a new growth forecast report by Global Market Insights, Inc., the material handling equipment market is growing at 5.5% CAGR to surpass USD 190 billion by 2024.
Growing automation capabilities in the manufacturing space coupled with increasing penetration of advanced technologies, such as IoT, RFID, and AI, are expected to drive the material handling equipment market growth. Automated material handling systems are gaining popularity with the growing inclination of industries to replace human labour with automated systems. RFID, IoT, and Automatic Identification & Data Capture (AIDC) technologies are becoming significantly popular as they improve order fulfilment processes and help enhance productivity across the supply chain. As human capital is becoming difficult to retain and recruit, automated material handling solutions are aiding companies in managing the labour challenges while ensuring profitability and productivity.
Rising labour costs in countries including China & India will support the material handling equipment market growth. The booming manufacturing sector in the region coupled, with high-cost labour, is compelling manufacturers to use sophisticated machinery to ensure high throughput in lesser time. Conventional manual techniques reduce productivity and lead to time consumption. Traditional techniques for material handling are also prone to errors caused by human fatigue. Moreover, they also pose a restriction to the amount of load that can be transferred or stored. Bulk material handling & storage systems and industrial trucks are facilitating the management of large volumes of goods, thereby reducing unnecessary time consumption.
Real-time technical challenges in the operation of these systems with the requirement of high capital investment are anticipated to negatively impact the material handling equipment market. The complexity involved in the integration of hardware and software for manufacturing facilities is restricting companies that have budgetary constraints from adopting these systems. Moreover, cybersecurity threats in these systems are also factors hindering industry growth.
The robotics segment of the material handling equipment market is expected to witness significant CAGR of over 8% to reach over USD 20 billion by 2024, owing to the demand for high-performance robotic systems across various industry verticals. Robots facilitate easy and fast pick & place of material, thereby ensuring accuracy and eliminating human involvement. The rising awareness about the advantages of automated systems globally will fuel the demand for robots across industries. Extensive R&D undertaken in the field of robotics & AI in countries including Japan and China is expected to fuel the material handling equipment market over the forecast period. The incorporation of machine learning capabilities in the robots to increase productivity with predictive maintenance further contributes to the industry demand.
3PL need them, too
The expanding 3PL sector globally is expected to witness a CAGR of over 6% in the material handling equipment market. The increasing complexity of supply chains is compelling businesses to turn towards 3PL service providers to ensure smooth and efficient operations. 3PL service providers are focusing on real-time systems for enhanced visibility. Furthermore, the flourishing durable manufacturing sector in countries including India and China is providing impetus to the market. The growing durable manufacturing industry adopting the latest technologies for production in countries including France and Germany will lead to a surge in demand for the equipment.
The developments in the manufacturing sector in countries such as Japan, China, and India are expected to propel the material handling equipment market growth. These systems are increasingly being adopted in warehouses and production facilities for automating all processes. The growing transportation & logistics industry in the US is providing growth opportunities to the industry valued at over USD 25 billion in 2017. The early technology adoption in the region and the ongoing R&D in the US will fuel the material handling equipment market demand. Stringent government regulations related to operator safety in Europe are compelling manufacturers to use high-quality machines that comply with the standards.
Key vendors in the material handling equipment market comprise Toyota, Crown Equipment, Hyster-Yale Materials Handling, Inc., KUKA AG, Kion Group AG, JBT Corporation, Flexlink, Intelligrated, Inc., Dematic GmbH & Co., KG., Columbus McKinnon, and Daifuku Co., Ltd. Companies are trying to launch new designs and expand the product portfolio. The industry is characterised by strategic acquisitions and collaborations with technology providers to offer enhanced solutions. Players are developing manufacturing solutions that cater to specific industry demands and comply with the standards and regulations operating in the industry. Increasing investment in the R&D of new automation solutions will contribute to industry growth.

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