For many businesses looking to cut back on their overheads, automation may not seem like the cheapest option. And in industries where a pretty penny is spent, like manufacturing, automation appears to be one of the most essential processes to bring any business kicking and screaming into the 21st century. A factory is, in many ways, an antiquated form of business because it’s used to a certain process, change can be difficult to implement. But when it comes to automation, it can certainly make a big difference to any business. What are the best ways that automation can improve the manufacturing industry?
Machine And Assembly
Unfortunately, for the human workers, this is one of the main areas that’s already seen a seismic impact, but it’s important that human workers don’t worry too much right now. While there have been many human jobs already facing stiff competition by automation, there are cyber-physical systems, such as collaborative robots that utilize the best of man and machine. While there are many businesses that are on the lookout for an intelligent factory setup, it is not going to take over the human counterpart completely anytime soon.
Labour Augmentation And Management
Following on from the combination of man and machine, the way it used to be, industrial robots helped human workers with their tasks but now it is the other way round. This means that employees need to be fully skilled in terms of working with technology, but the goal is to improve the efficiency of the people working, rather than the machine itself. There are emerging technologies like Augmented Reality (AR) that are slotting into industrial jobs. For example, there are browser can help to communicate productivity levels to workers in complicated machine-based environments, but can also help in a much more practical sense, such as providing a visual “manual.”
There appears to be minimal room for human error. And as any factory becomes more digitized, quality assurance will become crucial, especially with the increase of machine learning platforms such as Uptake that can help implement manufacturing processes into any manufacturing company. A very good example is a computer vision process embedded in mass production. Rather than having a human worker check that a product is to specification hundreds of times over, in the future, machine vision can scan for defects in products that a human may have missed.
Because of e-commerce, there’s been an increased demand for warehouse space. And as there are more companies renting warehouse space, warehouse robotics is becoming a very competitive aspect, especially through bigger companies like Amazon. Robotics are everywhere, but in the warehouse environment, this appears to be at its most effective. In April 2019, the engineering and robotics firm Boston Dynamics acquired Kinema Systems, the industrial machine vision startup, to diversify into warehouse robotics. As well as this, AI and computer vision integrating with enterprise resource planning are minimizing the need for spotting defects.
As you can see, factories are able to make the most of these automation trends, and while humans shouldn’t be shaking in their boots just yet, it can only be a matter of time.