Robots have completely revolutionized manufacturing processes all around the globe. They are capable of performing repetitive and onerous tasks, such as metal fabrication, with an unprecedented level of precision and speed. In addition to this, robots are now equipped with human capabilities like memory, sensing, trainability, and dexterity. Resultantly, they are taking on more sophisticated jobs including packaging, electronics assembling, testing, and inspection. That is why robots are given the name ‘intelligent industrial work assistants’.
As the cost of automation technology continues to fall, small and medium-sized companies are increasingly embracing the technology to automate their manufacturing processes. The rise of robots is not just about increased affordability. The pursuit of achieving greater efficiencies and reduced labor force injuries are some of the factors that are driving the demand for industrial automation solutions.
With all the new opportunities and options robots have brought about for manufacturers, there are a few questions which need to be addressed. Is there a way robots can be used in applications that human workforce is unable to undertake? Is industrial automation economically viable and practical solution to achieve sustainability? Do robots generate unemployment? If yes, is there any plan to move displaced workers to other jobs?
Most of the industries in the US and other developed parts of the world has already put robots on work. However, rest of them cannot go for automation because of the initial cost, expertise, and skills required to operate industrial robots. Industrialists are of varying opinion when it comes to automation. In the US, more than 35% manufacturers are of the opinion that robots will create new job opportunities. Around 65% of manufacturers are using robotic technology and 25% of manufacturers believe that they don’t need to automate their production processes.
It is not entirely true that robots are deployed in order to reduce the number of workers. Most of the time companies use robots to improve production and product quality. There are certain production tasks that are too difficult to carry out by humans. Therefore, industrialists use automated systems to achieve their production objectives.
The automotive industry witnessed a sharp rise in the use of robots over the past few years. In fact, the greatest demand came from the automotive industry following the electrical and electronics industries. In the US, the automotive industry installed more than 60,000 robots between 2010 and 2015. At the same time, the increasing use of industrial robots created more job opportunities in the manufacturing processes. Within the food and pharmaceutical industries, packaging applications have been the major focus of robotics.
Following the wave of digital transformation and automation, it would be easy for automated industries to meet the growing demand for quality and quantity in their manufacturing processes.