Robots, manufacturing & employment

The demand for automation

The increasing demand for automation has driven industrial development towards artificial intelligence and robotization. Intelligent robots have been one of the top highlight innovations in the technology sphere nowadays.

Manufacturers can be benefit from using intelligent robots to further drive efficiency in productivity, reduce human errors, accelerate time to value and increase competitiveness. However, what effect does robotization have on employment and how can humans and robots co-exist and work alongside each other while still increasing efficiency and productivity?

Robotization and its effects on employment

There are several perspectives on the effects of productivity-enhancing technologies like artificial intelligence and robotics on employment. Some argue that the rate at which these technologies are introduced exceeds our ability to find new occupations for those people whose jobs might become obsolete due to automation, robotics, and AI.

A recent Euro barometer survey revealed that 72% of the respondents agreed with the notion that robots and artificial intelligence steal jobs. Furthermore, that this might cause rising income inequality and high levels of unemployment and that additional automation may therefore not be economically and socially sustainable.

The other view holds that although automation and robotization might displace some workers and tasks due to increased productivity, it will also cause counterbalancing effects that ultimately will lead to economic growth. History supports this position as well, where technological advancements through industrial revolutions temporarily caused frictional unemployment, but ultimately lead to an economic expansion.

Current trends indicate this as well and show that industrial robotization is not only positively correlated with total employment, but that it can improve labour productivity as well. The notion that robots will take over our jobs is therefore an oversimplification, as they might not replace jobs in their entirety, but only certain activities and that new jobs will be created when old ones become obsolete.

Co-bot, the helping ‘hand’

The use of collaborative robots has been rising for the last decade. And there is good reason for it. There are several benefits to co-bots over industrial robots. One of the differentiating factors of a co-bot is the ability for it work safely with and alongside a human.

Not only that, but they can also be used in a wider variety of activities, settings, and tasks. This new form of robotics in combination with other industry 4.0 driven advancements like IoT and AI will impact many manufacturing processes and environments. There are currently many robotics applications being developed that will enhance the way humans interact with co-bots and that simultaneously improve working conditions.

Depending on the industry and the applications, robots are often used to assist or take over activities which are unhealthy, noisy, repetitive, pollutive etc. Some applications can include material and product handling, pick, place, and deposit applications.

Co-bots can also be programmed to follow a motion path for applications such as decorating cakes or in machining applications such as milling, drilling, cutting, grinding, and polishing operations. Due to the relative cheap cost and flexibility of co-bots as well as their consistent and accurate performance, they make a good addition to the manufacturing process without replacing humans.

Eqeep as your partner in digital transformation

So where does Eqeep fit in and how can we help manufactures become more flexible and more agile in their production processes? Our industry leading ERP and FSM solutions are designed with flexibility and agility in mind and allow manufacturers and service organizations to respond quickly to market changes.

We take the complex and give you user-friendly solutions that adapt to your manufacturing needs. Whether you use a mixed-mode production strategy or a combination of environments, we streamline your operations for maximum profitability and value.

Our ERP suite is a single unified solution that streamlines fragmented processes in your entire value chain and offers you complete visibility throughout your enterprise. Whether you operate across different countries with many sites, currencies, and languages, we offer solutions that grow with you as your business expands.

Contact us to schedule a meeting with one of our expert consultants and find out how you can take your business to the next level.

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