The topic of automation and robotics comes with equal part excitement, concern and question. Robots are efficient, reliable and inexpensive, but what would widespread implementation mean for manufacturing jobs?
David Clear, Vice President of Business Development for Vecna Robotics has helped businesses implement automated solutions and has seen the evolution of these systems over the years.
“It’s moving past this idea of just this early-level idea of robots being sexy to robots being something that is very beneficial within the supply chain as a whole,” he said of where the industry is today.
Every year these systems improve, and he believes the demand is growing with it.
“What we’re seeing again is this is the time that the technology is mature, the requirements from the industry are there and it’s the time where we can marry those two things together,” Clear said.
Still, with a variety of options for businesses to choose from, companies must be convinced that implementing robotics is the right move for them. The fact that the robotics industry continues to change also adds to indecision.
“There are a lot of tools that are available but people are nervous because they want to make sure they don’t bet on the wrong horse. That they don’t find themselves taking on board a new technology that may have a sunset a few years down the line and they have to go through this process again,” Clear explained.
One thing robotics companies need to continue to do is evolve to specific business needs in order to stay attractive to clients.
The idea that robots and automated systems will wipe out jobs is also a longstanding concern, but Clear says in his experience, customers are looking for supplemental help, not a complete overhaul.
“We have not seen any desire to come in and replace an entire site’s worth of staff,” he said.
Forces like labor shortages across the manufacturing sector will also continue to make robots more attractive to businesses as they look to fill holes in their systems.