The world of robotics and automation continues to grow at an exponential rate as we quickly make our way further into the 21st century.
As such, many of today’s companies are looking at ways they can introduce these new types of technologies into their daily operations so that they too can join the growing list of companies who are already benefiting from early adoption.
The topic has gained such traction in recent years, in fact, that industry giant ABB took it upon themselves to take a deep dive into some of the industry’s most relevant data and predict what could be next.
Here’s what they found…
In the manufacturing world, there are a few Industry leaders that lead the pack… One such company is the global giant ABB.
Founded in Zurich Switzerland in 1988, ABB Ltd. came to be with the merger of Sweden’s Allmänna Svenska Elektriska Aktiebolaget (General Swedish Electrical Limited Company) and Switzerland’s Brown, Boveri & Cie.
Originally listed as ASEA Brown Boverie, executives decided to simplify the company’s name and go with the title we know today, simply ABB.
Over the next 30+ years, ABB would continue produce profits and expand, continuously being listed as a global Fortune 500 company.
Today, ABB is a publicly traded company on, both, the Swiss and New York stock exchanges and is one of the leading and most respected experts in the worlds of manufacturing, robotics, and automation.
The high hopes for what might come with the continued growth of the automation and robotics industries has made itself extremely relevant over the past several years.
In the public arena, the adoption of autonomous cars has been a major headline in recent years, but, in the manufacturing and industrial complex, autonomous tools are nothing new. Many of us have already been using iterations of such equipment for years.
What HAS changed, though, is the ease and dependability of such equipment.
Today’s factory is not yesterday’s factory and the tools at our disposal now are much more advanced than previously.
So what’s changed?
Well, mainly, it has been the digital advancements that have been made over the course of our lifetime that have helped to prepare this and many other industries for today’s labor shortages, high customer demands and/or anything else the future may throw our way.
This is exactly what was recently on the mind of ABB U.S. Robotics Division President John Bubnikovich when he sat down to reflect on what he’s been seeing across this developing field.
“The impact of U.S. labor shortages is increasingly being felt by many businesses as they struggle to keep pace with customer demands, even with the potential for some softening in the U.S. economy in the short-term,” said Bubnikovich. “This, combined with global political uncertainty, fragile supply chains and rising material costs, in addition to the growing trend of reshoring and nearshoring of operations, means more companies are adopting robotic automation to maximize flexibility, build resilience and adapt more sustainable production processes.”
Added to this, Bubnikovich is no stranger to the fact that many across the country, with efforts to reshore jobs back to American soil underway, will continue to have a hard time filling positions that were once desirable with a workforce that continuously demands more from employers.
This is one reason the annual revenue of the U.S. robotics market is expected to grow at 5.62% (CAGR), which would result in a market volume of over $9billion by 2027.
Bubnikovich believes these less desirable types of jobs will be first in line to receive the autonomous treatment. Not to replace willing workers, but to replace a willing workforce that has evaporated over the past few decades and seeing, “… robots taking on more roles in similar settings going forward as labor shortages continue to impact many businesses.”
Speaking further on the topic, Bubnikovich said, “While much of the mainstream attention has focused on the impact of automation taking jobs, robots will increasingly preform the physically stressful tasks that people are reluctant to perform, helping to moderate industrial and commercial labor shortages. The continuing advancements in ease of use and flexible performance of robots, including the development of collaborative models with larger payloads such as ABB’s GoFA and SWIFTI cobots, mean companies can address skills gaps and make better use of their existing workforces.”
Clearly you can see why industry experts like Bubnikovich are betting it all on robotics and automation.
With the alarming speed at which the robotic and automation sector has made its way into our lives, it is definitely understood why many on the factory floors have begun to voice concerns.
… But, as noted above, these developments are not here to replace an existing workforce, but to benefit today’s workforce.
In fact, there’s a serious argument that these technological developments would actually INCREASE the number of positions that need filling.
You see, as these industry advancements begin to be implemented across the board, there will continue to be a growing need for workers to help them operate. True, this will require some advanced trainings from resources such as Manufacturing KnowHow and other platforms designed to help bridge the gap between today’s workforce and tomorrow’s industry, but, hopefully, those who truly want to be an asset in their field will also see the benefits of having such skills at their disposal.
And, when all is said and done, we will surely see a more productive industry with a more skilled and engaged workforce behind it.
That is good news for the worker, good news for the industry, and good news for the economy in its entirety.
Hopefully, much like the experts behind the scenes at ABB, you see the many benefits that are expected to come with the embracing of the digital revolution.
… And as we continue to take steps towards what seems like an inevitable future, those in the manufacturing industry hoping to be relevant for another few decades need to make sure they act today before they find themselves being left behind in this continuously advancing industry.
P.S. If you’d like to learn more about how you can start – or continue – your facilities digital transformation, give the team at Rain Engineering a call.
… And don’t forget to check out the many ways you can benefit from joining the Manufacturing KnowHow family today.
With a workforce that is educated on your systems and speaking the same “digital language” as your programming, you can feel comfortable knowing that you and your team are taking the necessary steps to prepare for the exciting – and profitable – days ahead!