The Detroit Free Press just published a good article, Robots descending on Michigan industrial workplaces in record numbers, that describes what happens in the US but has a lot of significance for Chinese manufacturers too.
Let’s go through a few excerpts, one by one.
The immediate future is likely to be a combination of human workers amid automation and not a “lights out” factory devoid of people entirely.
[Robots are put in place for] focus on tasks that are “dirty, dull and dangerous”
New robots come with “eyes” designed to allow them to scan parts for defects.
Reduced regulations allow factories to drop some of the protective cages that once encased robots and kept them far from human workers. Now, some co-bots can work alongside assembly line workers, armed with motion-sensor technology and warning lights that make them slow down or even stop moving when a human gets too close.
This allows for the gradual replacement of low-skill assembly jobs by automated systems. Let’s face it, young generations prefer other types of jobs.
Last week I wrote an article about the right approach to production automation in this article: How To Get Your Manufacturing Automation Timeline Right. I introduced the 5 levels of automation and “the great divide” between steps 3 and 4.
What do you think?