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Editorials

American Jobs Evolve with Robotics

RobotWorx

Robotic automation is continuing to prove its supremacy as it is showing up on all types of factory floors across the globe. This is a reflection of all the undeniable benefits that industrial robots are bringing: faster throughputs, energy savings, lower costs, and a more consistent product.

Another key item that industrial robots and automation are bringing to the floor is new and different jobs. The job loss that some people fear in relation to the robotics movements is not so much a loss; rather it is a job evolution.  Time and time again, the past has proven this to be the undeniable result of innovation and humans have always shown their inherent skill to adapt.

American History has Shown Ceaseless Innovation
Since its inception, American history has proven that our world has never stopped innovating and/or adapting.   From cooking over a fire in a cave to perfectly roasting turkeys in infrared grills; from nomadic cultures traveling miles by foot to find the freshest food, to driving your own car to the grocery store; and, from the manual, heavy lifting during the manufacturing of automobiles to the industrial robots that are now completing the same tasks with grace and ease, and in half the time.

Each innovation and advancement to society did indeed dissolve an old job that is no longer needed. However, it always brought about new jobs, ideas, and necessary adaptations to make life easier and maintain the competitive advantage, betterment of society, and greater economic success that we are seeking.

Automation Transitions in America: Old Jobs into New Jobs
Before computers existed in America, human “computers” checked and completed rigorous math equations for a variety of specialties, including space travel.  Automated computers were soon brought into the American work force to keep up with the global competition. This new technology caused fear and anxiety as they would soon replace the need for “human computers.” Computers could solve a seemingly impossible amount of problems per second, around 24,000. Today, that figure has more than quadrupled.  And as a result, so have our space travels.

Those that worked as human computers or blacksmiths a long time ago had to make a choice: choose to adapt and evolve with the times by learning a different trade in order to stay employed and relevant to society or…get left behind.  This holds true today, as well. It is near impossible to find a grandpa that was a computer software analyst in his time...today, that job is rampant and pays very well.  

As robotic automation continues to grow at exponential rates, the robot economy will also continue to invent jobs we can’t even dream of today, just as the internet and computer gave rise to unanticipated careers. We will see this trend continue as new jobs continue emerge, such as search engine optimization specialists, highly skilled, robot-savvy engineers, programmers, factory supervisors, or service technicians.  

Giving the more repetitive tasks over to machines ultimately provides people with more time and mental space to complete and nurture tasks that they are good at and nurture their inborn talents. This will enable the ability for an even higher standard of living, ultimately improving the economic status in America and the world.  

The Future for Automation in America
While there are some things that are still valued because they are imperfect and hand-made, there is no room for irregularities on a product that travels over 60 miles per hour on a highway, carrying your family or loved ones.  That is why today, the automotive industry has increased investments in industrial robotics and continues to dominate the global robot usage, with around 90 million units in 2014 (1). This industry continues to use robotics to help automate a variety of processes, such as welding, painting, assembly, die casting, and large part transfer. 

Robotics is a huge benefit to the automotive industry as they are reducing the time-to-market, production costs, and overall energy consumption.  It is also a fact that robots and automation systems provide a more cost-effective, efficient system that consistently supplies a top quality product.  After years of observing automation in the market, economists have found a consistent, overall increase to the standard of living, literacy rates, and life spans.  In this competitive global market, robots are expected to continue to play a pivotal role in the evolution of the automotive industry.

The International Data Corporation (IDC), the premier global market intelligence firm, observed the automation market last year and shows an estimated 17% compound annual growth rate and a value that will reach around $135 billion by 2019.  This is based on the idea that the manufacturing process and other commercial services will all be greatly improved through this industrial revolution. The robotics market is quickly becoming more affordable, easier to use, and less complex.  Industrial automation is constantly expanding and evolving into a greater union with information technology that will soon allow robot-driven automation to rein in manufacturing and logistics.

Automation Jobs in America 
There is an enormous amount of engineering talent and a dynamic venture capital system in America, making it the perfect place to create a global center of robotics innovation.  The creation and evolution of new science, technology, engineering, and mathematics jobs will be needed here, in America, as automation only continues to progress.  

Additionally, if the U.S. also brings the actual manufacturing of robots into America, new jobs will be created, shipping costs will be saved, and outsourcing will be prevented.  There would also have to be new factories built to accommodate manufacturing and more jobs to supervise and oversee the robotic building and plant management.

It is now obvious that companies that choose to implement robotics can enjoy greater net income due to automation efficiencies and greater precision on the production line. The American workforce stands to become more educated, more capable, and more enabled with the performance of leadership functions as they evolve with the advancements of technology.

Our Role as Hardworking, Americans Citizens
As the country continues to move forward and embrace robotic automation, there is historical evidence that more jobs, albeit new and different, lie ahead.  These new jobs will encompass a more professional job market, enabling an overall increase in value to society, such as computer programmers, coders, highly skilled factory staff, competent data scientists, engineers, specialists in A.I., etc.  

It is our job as humans and motivated, hard working citizens, to adapt and evolve to the current needs of society and the work place. It is the job of the education system to ensure computer coding, programming, engineering, automation training, etc. are implemented into the curriculum to better prepare the upcoming generation to equip them with the necessary skills to work with the new solutions. To prepare those students to continue striving to come up with even more creative solutions and advancements in ways that can make life easier, that can continue to solve global issues, and unite the global technology front.  

Humans have to continue to strive to turn from a factory machine into a thinking machine, as that is where our talents will shine the most during this digital revolution. We need to allow the robots to continue to excel at performing dull and repetitive tasks, to create a safer and faster product.  We need to continue to develop and foster our incredibly complicated and intelligent network of neurons that our firing, to improve this world in deeper ways than robots are able.  

As robots slowly take over the repetitive and dangerous jobs such as sorting, inspecting, and weighing, workers will be free to perform more complicated, cerebral tasks, such as programming and coding.  

Automation Can Bring America to Economic Supremacy
The American industrial robot workforce and its future success are now dependent on its workers to adapt and learn the new, necessary trades that extend across the automation fields. Finding the way to adapt and evolve during this robotic revolution is a barrier that is easily knocked down once we realize the full benefits and greater job opportunities that will be provided along the way.

The continual growth of technology and automation in our world is inevitable. As we better understand and accept the changing job requirements with the digital revolution, we will be able to clearly see the new job opportunities that are consequently created. It is now our job to stand up to the challenge and prepare ourselves to hang on, and not just prevail but thrive as we take on the new jobs and continue to improve the world through digital innovations.  Then, it will be evident that America will not only maintain its world economic supremacy, but dominate its economic leadership on a global level as it continues to stay on the leading edge of technology.

Automation and Job Opportunities with RobotWorx
For over 20 years, RobotWorx has been satisfying customer’s needs by offering (and purchasing) new and used customized automation solutions at competitive prices. RobotWorx provides creative integrated solutions, customized to fit individual company needs; their engineering team has the expertise to find the right robot make, model, and EOAT for your product.  You can be sure that RobotWorx strives to keep costs low, quality high, and increase overall efficiency and ROI.  The company has provided hundreds of successful robot installations that have supplied excellent workmanship, affordability, and support. RobotWorx' commitment to customer support extends beyond sales. Their expert robotic technicians are at hand to assist with any repair or replacement need; RobotWorx is a certified integrator for FANUC, Motoman, KUKA, and ABB.

Sources:

(1)  Ahlborn, Tom.  “Industrial Robotics in the Automotive Industry.”  https://www.bastiansolutions.com

(2)  Santagate, John. “The IDC FutureScape Report: Worldwide robotics 2017 Predictions.” http://www.roboticstomorrow.com/article/2016/12/the-idc-futurescape-report-worldwide-robotics-2017-predictions/9247

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