When we think of the future, American dreamers envision flying cars, holograms, and robotic assistants. But have you ever considered that the future is now? The manufacturing and distribution industry has been utilizing industrial robots for decades. Now, as technology continues to advance, finding newer, better ways for humans to be successful and productive in their work, we’re seeing a forward-moving industry rapidly developing. This industry is paving the way for technology in the workplace, as manufacturing companies integrate cobots (or collaborative robots) in their every day tasks.
Robotics and Manufacturers
Commonly misconceived, cobots are used to assist employees, not replace them. Industrial robots are designed to complete precision work and lack decision-making abilities, which is why they work so well with human employees. Employers in the manufacturing industry can utilize advanced computer systems and industrial robots to accomplish tasks that are deemed dangerous or tedious for human workers. This protects workers, saves time and resources, and improves production.
For example, manual tasks, such as pick-and-place, light assembly, and sorting, can be easily completed by robots. Beyond freeing human workers from having to do these monotonous tasks, robots also reduce human error and minimize risk of human injury.
So why haven’t more employers in the manufacturing and distribution industry adopted these smart-manufacturing technologies? According to Sikich’s 2018 Manufacturing & Distribution Report, almost 40 percent of survey respondents do not perform manufacturing operations with robotic assistance. For fear of high costs, complexities surrounding the advanced technology, and a reluctance to change their operations, industry leaders are hesitant to integrate this form of technology.
The Real Cost of Industrial Robots in the Manufacturing Industry
Since cobot technology focuses on precision work and eliminating human error, the use of this technology actually decreases labor costs in the long run. Less mistakes equal less downtime and product deficiencies.
Sikich’s Manufacturing and Distribution Report also states that certain simple-to-install robots can be secured for less than $20,000. Additionally, Report findings predict a decrease in these costs in the coming years; providing an opportunity for manufacturing companies to invest in these resources sooner rather than later.
Leaders in smart-manufacturing expect the industry to continue its development with artificial intelligence (AI) technology and machine learning. For more information on this topic and related manufacturing and distribution insight, download Sikich’s 2018 Manufacturing & Distribution Report.