Some things get better with age. Time can add complexity to the taste of a good wine. Friendships can become lifelong bonds as the years go by. Even your favorite book can gain new meaning and importance as you get older. Generally speaking, though, robots do not get better with age.
While some things improve as time goes by, it’s usually the opposite with technology. There’s a running joke that if you buy the latest and greatest computer this year, it’s going to be obsolete next year. Moore’s law tells us that computing power roughly doubles every couple of years. Moore’s law held true in 1965, and it pretty much holds true today.
But even if you remove technological advances from the equation, machines still don’t benefit from aging. Parts and components wear down due to normal wear and tear, rust sets in, and eventually every machine must be retired.
However, aging and machines isn’t always a bad pairing. In fact, it’s a great combination when populations are getting older. The world may soon have an age crisis on its hands, and robots could be the solution.
Populations are getting older
Japan has the oldest population of any country in the world. More than 26% of Japan’s population is over 65 years of age. Some predictions suggest that nearly one-third of Japan’s entire population will be senior citizens by 2030. As life expectancy increases, and the rate of new births decreases, Japan is rapidly aging.
With a fourth of the population already over the age of 65, Japan is presently feeling the effects of an aging population. It’s not just Japan that’s getting older, however. The entire world’s population is quickly getting older.
Here’s a look at the top 10 countries with the highest percentage of population over 65 years of age.
- Japan – 26.3%
- Italy – 22.4%
- Greece – 21.4%
- Germany – 21.2%
- Portugal – 20.8%
- Finland – 20.5%
- Bulgaria – 20.0%
- Sweden – 19.9%
- Latvia – 19..4%
- Malta – 19.2%
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, America’s current senior citizen population makes up 13.3% of the total population. This number is expected to grow to 20% by 2060, however.
How robots can help with an aging population
At first glance, an older population might seem like a good thing. We want people to live a long time after all, right? While longer life expectancy isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it does create some challenges.
Many older adults need assistance from caregivers. When the younger population fills caregiver positions, that leaves unfilled job positions in other fields.
Japan’s solution to an aging population is to fill caregiver positions with robots. Auto manufacturer Toyata was recently in the news with the release of a robotic physical therapist. This is just one of many robotic solutions that could help with a rapidly aging population.
Indramat legacy products – motors, drives, and controls – don’t exactly get better with age, but they do stand the test of time. Indramat servos are still working reliably in factories across the globe three-plus decades after first being installed. In many cases, these servos have never been serviced, because they’ve never needed it.
But maybe that time has come. Thirty or so years of normal wear and tear tends to do that to a motor. Contact us today for Indramat servo repair or replacement!