Worldwide spending in automation, robotics, and AI is set to double in 2023 to an astounding $34.2 billion. Considering that the market was only valued at $5 billion in 2016, this level of automation investment is thrilling. As global interest and support skyrockets, we’re sure to see the introduction of revolutionary technology and exciting opportunities for engineers and manufacturers.
Automation solutions are game-changing for businesses across any number of industries. But there are three key areas of cutting-edge advancement that companies should be aware of when considering how this new era of automation can benefit them.
Robots in the workforce
Robots have always been a bit of a controversial topic when it comes to the workforce. At the end of 2019, the International Federation of Robotics estimated that there were about 2.7 million robots at work, primarily in the automotive and electronic fields. Robots have always stirred up concerns and think-pieces about potential job losses, but so far, the opposite seems to be true.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, engineering industry employment is set to grow over the next decade by nearly 100,000 jobs, especially as mechanical engineering education demands increase and more workers are needed for maintenance.
The use of robots has expanded as certain new technologies have become increasingly available and affordable. There’s also been a recent push for companies to quickly return to pre-pandemic productivity. Robots aren’t just for assembly lines anymore. Manufacturers of all kinds are now reaping the benefits of incorporating robotics into everything from high-speed feeding systems to FDA-approved sterilization—any company not upgrading their technology risks being left behind.
New technology for old machinery
One of the largest hurdles companies face when installing new engineered automation services is the value of their legacy equipment. Legacy machinery may be outdated, but in many cases, it represents a huge number of years and dollars invested. This equipment also frequently informs the entire layout of a plant, so even small changes can upset a company’s entire system.
New automation services are focused on bringing new technology to old machinery, both in the IoT and manual automation world. These innovative automation solutions include small fixes like smart sensors, which monitor changes in production in real time. They also include larger services like retrofitting, which allows engineers to incorporate new parts and abilities into older models.
Some companies can certainly benefit from a complete overhaul, but automation providers will need to remain flexible and customer-centric as the engineering industry continues to transform in the coming years.
Emphasis on safety
Manufacturers have always dealt with safety issues, but the fallout of the pandemic and the national demand for higher wages and better working conditions is pushing these issues to the forefront. Plant managers are now faced with the need for better worker distancing—both from other workers and from dangerous machinery.
Engineered automation solutions, especially custom automations, not only decrease the number of bodies needed on the plant floor but also protect workers from repetitive-motion injuries and human errors. Additionally, engineering solutions focused on sterilization and quality control can protect workers from wayward chemicals and dangerous malfunctions.
Summit Engineered Automation Solutions
Every company has different needs as we all move into a more automated future. Summit Engineered Automation partners with you and your team to build customized, advanced automation solutions designed to increase productivity, improve safety, and lower costs.