Examining societal expectations and the evolution of automation – how aligned are they?
Not that long ago, we had envisioned a future full of technological advancements that would unveil flying cars, robots like Rosey traversing our homes, cooking, cleaning and picking up after the kids and screens that would allow us to see who we were chatting with over the phone – live.
Could’ve been perception was altered due to watching one too many Jetsons’ episode or because the rapid advancement of technology at the time brought with it high expectations. Regardless, the reality of one of those things happening wasn’t bad!
Fast forward to the present as robotics and automation are yielding unprecedented results
Today, sans flying cars and house maid robots, businesses across the globe are being transformed through robotics and automation. New technologies are constantly emerging, bringing with them an increased ability for tasks to be completely fulfilled by robotic solutions.
The shift from human performed functions to partial or fully automated tasks has been greatly influenced by the pandemic workforce exodus. With labor shortages and new hire difficulties, it’s estimated that 3 million industrial robots are now operating within warehouse, logistics and manufacturing facilities worldwide, performing repetitive tasks, simplifying manual processes and overall, improving productivity, throughput and profit.
If there has been one positive takeaway from these tumultuous times, it’s that the implementation of robotics and automation solutions have proven to mitigate workforce issues, resolve challenging production demands and garner relatively quick ROI’s.
The BOOM – A bubble or sustainable option for the future?
Robotics and automated solutions are here to stay. Capabilities continue to increase and costs as related to ROI are extremely palatable, making highly coveted aspects of business-like expansion, scalability and production optimization possible.
The advent of automated technologies that allow humans to seamlessly work alongside their robotic counterparts is also a huge factor. This coupled with the ability to redeploy valuable staff to other functions within a facility makes automation even more appealing and viable for many. Plus, businesses utilizing multiple robots, cobots, AMR’s and machine vision systems throughout their facility can integrate additional technological capabilities to tie everything together – making manual tracking, sorting and managing a thing of the past and more accurate.
What does this look like in applicable terms for many industrial applications?
Automated solutions come in a variety of forms. Most common for industries such as warehousing, manufacturing and logistics operations are: Robots, Cobots, AMR’s and Machine Vision Systems. When integrated to perform automated tasks, solutions can make production processes faster and more efficient. Plus, they significantly increase the potential for companies to save time and money on everything from labor to inspection and tracking.
Common applications of automation and robotic solutions include: Assembly, Pick and Place, Material Handling and Transport, Palletizing/Depalletizing, Packaging and more.
Robots are ideal for repetitive tasks where payload and reach may exceed human capabilities and productivity. Robust, industrial robots are reliable, easy to operate and offer a great deal of flexibility in handling many application specific functions.
Cobots, provide an equal value as robots when it comes to executing automated tasks with the added benefit of being collaborative. These systems can work alongside humans safely, are often portable and easy to configure.
AMR’s or Autonomous Mobile Robots provide industry with the ability to eliminate wasted travel time, transporting materials throughout a facility, providing material handling and cross-docking capabilities, safely and efficiently. The ability to redeploy valuable personal to other functions has been a key decision-making factor for many companies incorporating AMR’s into their automation mix.
Machine Vision Systems are a key advantage in many environments. Providing more consistency than the human eye with up to a 99% accuracy rate, they eliminate the need for manual inspections, sorting, tracking and traceability functions.
Then, now and beyond.
Technology will continue to advance, and in many aspects so will the needs of business and industry along the way. As hiring remains a challenge, wages continue to escalate and inflation doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon, robotic solutions remain a cost-effective option to combat these variables.
Easy to deploy, reliable, efficient and safe with not much down time, automation makes it possible to run shifts 24/7 at maximum speed and capacity. This translates into increased productivity, process optimization and long-term profitability.
Chat with an automation expert today to see what solutions are right for you – you may be surprised at how easy, seamless and effective they can be.