From assembly and pick-and-place to material handling and packaging, the number of robots working in manufacturing and assembly plants continues to grow—a big part of the new wave of factory automation circling the globe. They can handle the simplest and the most complicated tasks. Taking the plunge into robotics, however, can be confusing and daunting. To get some good advice on getting started on the road to robotic automation, Machine Design talked with Rick Brookshire, a group product manager at industrial robot manufacturer Epson.
One of the key drivers of accelerated adoption of industrial robots through the 1980s and beyond was worker safety. We hear much about job losses due to robots, but little about improvements in injury rates thanks to robotic handling. Strenuous and repetitive tasks such as palletizing, or hot and dangerous part handling in metal fabrication, were given over to robots.
Every industrial robot currently requires mechanical, electrical, and software care that wasn't required by older technology. So while unskilled labor may slowly dwindle, higher-level (and therefore higher-paid) opportunities will expand.