The manufacturing renaissance is a hot topic these days within our industry, and automation is playing a hand in the process. The use of automated systems and robotics are allowing companies to bring production back to North America for a lower cost than the already inexpensive overseas labor. New advancements in three-dimensional vision, offline programming, and force-sensing technology are making newer robotic animation systems capable of performing more complex tasks according to Design World.
It’s not just a matter of cost when it comes to automation in the manufacturing industry. Robotics could be the answer to issues manufacturers were previously having with quality of the products they were putting out. Senior applications engineer at Bastian Solutions, Steve Kruse spoke to Design World about new automation quality. “Some of the quality issues have left a sour taste,” Kruse said. “Manufacturers are looking towards automation to bring products back, get the quality up, and still maintain a competitive price in the global market.” But what about the jobs of the North American workers that used to perform those tasks? This is where the debate heats up.
At first glance it is easy to assume that automation could kill off many manufacturing jobs, but that simply is not the case. The business that automation would be taking is from other countries that are offering cheap labor, so automation may actually be able to bring more manufacturing back to North America that had migrated overseas. While this may not create large numbers of traditional manufacturing jobs, the machines will need skilled personnel for repair, upkeep, and operational overseers, as well as company administrative employees, and many other opportunities for good positions.