Automation benefits manufacturing, and manufacturing is essential to the U.S. economy. The estimated U.S. GDP for 2016 was $18.46 trillion, and manufacturing contributed $2.8 trillion, or 11.7% of the total GDP. All industry accounted for 19.4% of the total gross domestic product in 2016. Industrial automation provides volume, quality, speed, and productivity that could not be achieved by human workers alone. Without industrial motion control and industrial robots, manufacturing would not be the force that it is today. But automation doesn’t just boost manufacturing and bolster the economy. Automation provides solutions to problems.
While convenience doesn’t seem like the most worthy reason for automation, automating even the most mundane or frivolous tasks still benefits society. Convenience improves our quality of life, and enables us to put more time into more important matters. We’ve automated a number of things – doors, tollbooths, shopping, scheduling, sprinkler systems, etc. – and have thus made our daily lives simpler and more efficient.
How do you open a door with arms full of grocery bags, or from behind a brimming, wobbly-wheeled shopping cart? You could awkwardly struggle, hire a doorman, or build a device that opens the door automatically. Yes, we can open our own doors, water our own lawns, and tweet our own tweets, but convenience also makes our lives better, and allows us to focus effort and attention on more worthwhile pursuits.
This is even more clearly the case in industrial environments. Freeing up human workers to do the things only humans can do leads to improvement across the board.
An increased level of safety is an obvious example of how automation makes our lives better. People are fragile, whereas machines are not. Industrial automation, for example, keeps workers from suffering repetitive motion injuries, it removes them from exposure to hazardous work environments, and frees them from back-breaking labor.
Bomb disposal robots and drones remove law enforcement officers and military personnel from life-threatening situations. Automation reduces human exposure to dangerous conditions in mining, chemical plants, and other challenging situations, too.
Keeping people healthier and safer is one of the biggest advantages to automation.
Not having enough hands and the fragility of human beings are old problems that are solved through automation. But automation offers solutions to new problems that mankind has never seen before.
For example, Japan has a problem that the world has never known. It’s an age problem. Normally, a country’s population consists of boatloads of children, a lot of young people, plenty of adults, and fewer older adults. Japan’s population, however, is different. The median age is roughly 47 years, and almost 40% of the population is over 55 years of age. This has led to a shortage of workers and an increased need for care for older adults. Automation can provide care for older adults, and free up laborers to do more skilled work.
Automation provides solutions to many of life’s problems. As robotics and artificial intelligence technologies improve we can expect to see automation solve more problems in more areas. Of course, automation only does its jobs if it’s working properly. Call today for any of your Indramat motion control service needs.