‘Robots taking over’ is a widely held view of what’s going to happen to the manufacturing sector. However, this is untrue and does not reflect anything on the future of manufacturing. For centuries now, the march of the machines has had us living in fear even though they changed how we do things and not replaced us for the period they have been around. Both humans and machines are set to play a crucial role in the success of manufacturing as the use of automation in conducting business becomes a reality. Here is how.
Digital manufacturing or the use of manufacturing robots cuts out middle-men. This is because more repetitive, routine assembly tasks are being handled by the machines. However, as certain jobs disappear, new ones will open up in different parts of the factory. A good example of such a trend is Germany. Despite manufacturers in the country deploying three times more robots than companies in the US, they also hire more humans making Germany’s workforce twice the size North America’s.
Enhances human-robot collaboration
From the very start, the fourth industrial revolution has never offered manufacturers with an either or choice of human workforce or robot taskforce. Instead, it has always been about bringing this two together and collaboratively combining their talents. The convergence of human and artificial intelligence is slowly enabling manufacturers to achieve a new era of efficiency, speed, connectivity and flexibility.
While manufacturing robots have the capability of assembling pieces in a production line much faster than humans, we still possess the valuable knowledge, domain expertise and analytics needed to solve problems thus optimizing production as well.
Artificial intelligence which is rapidly being commercialized through the creation of new applications is not only for manufacturing but also healthcare, oil and gas and energy thus changing how we all do business. This new machine age is unstoppable because in history there never has been a bigger opportunity for businesses to add value for their customers.
However, don’t forget that your company still has a social responsibility and business need to be equally invested in hiring humans. The factory floor’s transformation ought to be met by a company-led commitment to re-skill both aspiring and current employees. Therefore it is your responsibility as a business owner to ensure that training on digital manufacturing is accessible to any of your employees provided they are willing to learn and work hard.
They are saving you costs while handling dangerous or repetitive and mundane tasks
There is an abundance of ways that manufacturing robots help to keep humans safe. They are minimizing the chances of injuries and even death at worksites across various industries. For instance, industrial robots take on welding tasks which can be quite dangerous for the human staff. The process of welding not only produces noise that can cause undue stress but also toxic fumes that can gradually result in respiratory diseases to the employees most exposed to it. Robots also help keep humans away from other health hazardous environments by handling toxic chemicals and materials. In the end, this saves you a lot of money that you would have spent paying for the medical bills or lawsuits filed by your employees.
Manufacturing robots also relieve your workers from repetitive and boring tasks thus allowing them time to focus on other aspects of growing your business. Generally, robots take over repetitive and mundane tasks which save your employees from the strain and sheer boredom that is caused by repetition and double checking to see if the quality of products is consistent.
Keep in mind that while manufacturing robots can be programmable, trust is easily earned with humans. Therefore, digital manufacturing is an all inclusive venture where robots and humans are expected to work collaboratively to achieve optimal performance. As we welcome robots let us not forget that humans are still the future.