Automation is changing the way mass finishing and shot blasting processes are delivered. In this five-part blog series, Rosler Metal Finishing will explain what has given rise to automation trends, the human factors of these manufacturing upgrades, and how such automated processes deliver benefits to your business.
Those of us of a certain age remember a portrayal of robotics that, in hindsight, was rather quaint: human-looking automated machines would be crisscrossing our landscape, delivering us food and wardrobe, pumping our gas, collecting our garbage, or – in a more macabre rendering – leading a rise of the machines that would eliminate the human race.
In reality, Rosie the Robot and the Terminator have not ruled the world, as predicted by Hollywood. Today, faceless, automated machines, arms, and processors are streamlining the way in which products and services are delivered.
In fact, a World Economic Forum article found that the 2020s will be the “age of automation,” with manual jobs making up only 35 percent of the manufacturing labor force by the end of this decade (a drop from 48 percent, as measured in 2016).
Additionally, one study expects that more than 1.2 million automated machines will be deployed in industrial situations by 2025 – leading to an increase of automated manufacturing processes to fully 25 percent, from 10 percent today.
The relatively low U.S. unemployment rate reinforces the pressure to mechanize. When unemployment is low, the labor force tends to be choosier. As of now, the labor force seems intent on moving toward less physical career choices.
That said, humans still will have a significant role on the manufacturing floor. Financial analyst Dave McKay noted that automation won’t “kill off your job,” but necessitate new advanced roles in manufacturing that require people who possess skills in critical thinking, complex problem-solving, and monitoring. This offers opportunities for existing employees to pursue a less laborious, and more analytical, career path – things like monitoring, operating, and handling minor maintenance on automated production systems.
So, it is clear that mechanization, and partial- or full-automation of our working environment, is here to stay. At Rosler, we, too, are realizing the benefits of automation – developing equipment to support surface treatment technologies including mass finishing and shot blasting. Automated equipment is going a long way toward replacing processes that have had to be done by hand, and also boosting the overall safety, precision, and efficiency of our manufacturing operations.
Automation is, simply expressed, a technology, by which a process or procedure is performed with the goal to minimize or completely eliminate human involvement. For mass finishing and shot blasting automation, this means the linkage of two or more finishing stages into a mechanized operation that requires a minimum of operator intervention.
Today, and into the future, we see this technology evolving, into sophisticated, indispensable surface refinement technologies across many industries including automotive, aerospace, equipment building, medical engineering, power generation, and, even, additive manufacturing.
So how will automation promote the factory of the future? How is it beneficial to our business and yours? How do equipment and environmental considerations fit into the paradigm? And what does the future hold? Stay tuned as we explore automation in greater detail in future posts within our Automation Blog Series.
As always, we are eager to learn about your challenges in order to develop and deliver a solution. Contact us today to discuss how we can help you find a better – and perhaps, more automated – way.