Powered Exoskeleton (Powered Suits) Market in Japan: Key Research Findings 2019
Yano Research Institute (the President, Takashi Mizukoshi) conducted a survey on the domestic powered exoskeleton (powered suits) market, and has found out the product trends by segment, the trends of market players, and future perspectives.
Powered exoskeletons (a.k.a. powered suits) in this research indicate wearable mobile machines or suits that assist the wearers in some ways (i.e., walking assistance, workload lightening and etc.) by wearing them. This research targets those with the power source or mechanical structure.
The domestic powered exoskeleton market in FY2018, based on the shipment value at manufacturers, has grown to 1,437 million yen, 113.6% of the size of the previous fiscal year. With the market players consist of various companies from the ventures to multidivisional enterprises and from diverse industries, attention has been focused from various directions.
The entire market of powered exoskeletons or powered suits has been driven by walking assistant type and workload lightening type. In recent years, the former type has been on the decline, but covered by more intense expansion of the latter type, boosting the entire market. The powered exoskeletons or powered suits market is likely to be led mainly by workload lightening types in FY2018 and beyond.
Market Players Differ According to What to Assist
Walking-assistant types of powered exoskeletons have two different categories: “Rehabilitation” for a patient or handicapped person to help recover one’s walking functions; and “Walking support” for a healthy person with weakened walking functions due to the advanced age. Though there are more companies developing rehabilitation category than walking support category, no single company has made a market entry of rehabilitation for the past one or two years. The rehabilitation-category products are more like machines than consumer goods. On the other hand, there have been some companies newly entered the market of walking support category. They tend to be more like consumer goods but the functions and prices largely differ by product. Walking assistant types of powered exoskeletons as a whole have fewer new entries of companies, which has to say that fewer topics to be mentioned.
Workload lightening types aim to alleviate the physical burden at the time of heavy work of the wearer by supporting his/her body. The workload lightening types can be categorized into those to lift up/carry/move a human and those to a thing. There are cases when the workload lightening types intended for carrying things are used for people at long-term care sites, though rarely eagerly used. Nevertheless, sometimes, those that were at first intended for carrying things have begun being used for long-term care receivers after they went through verification tests at a long-term care facility. To the contrary, there also are some cases that some powered exoskeletons developed mainly for humans have become successfully used for carrying things.
Without any plans for new products of walking-assistant type of powered exoskeletons are to be released, no factors can be found for the market to expand. Still, because of a certain level of demand exists, the market size is likely to stay flat. On the other hand, the market of workload lightening types is projected to expand, as new products are expected to continue being released, bringing about more chance for the prices to decline and the versatility to improve, which makes the demand to be developed even to general households. By FY2022, the domestic powered exoskeletons market size based on the shipment value is projected to reach 7,180 million yen, five times larger than that of FY2018.
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