Services vs. Manufacturing

In 2021, services accounted for about 77.6 percent of the American GDP. We can say with confidence that the United States, formerly a manufacturing powerhouse, is now primarily a service economy. Is that a good thing? Maturation or decadence? One position on this question is that a service economy is more mature than a manufacturing… Read more »

Tea-Making Robots

tea-making robots

“As I stood in the doorway, a strange metallic voice intoned, ‘Would you like a cup of tea, master?’ and a long metal arm with some kind of teapot-shaped device on the end hurled a glittering stream of steaming water up the walls. People were dodging frantically, colliding with each other, shrieking, ‘Switch it off…. Read more »

Amazon’s Robotic Fulfillment Centers Sweat the Details

Chain Store Age recently had a chance to visit one of Amazon’s Robotic Fulfillment Centers. They found that Amazon is not only automating, but also optimizing their systems. They begin by using AI to create demand forecasts that tell the company where to ship items for distribution. If they see that North Carolina is craving… Read more »

Cultural Robotics

The world of robotics is rapidly evolving, venturing beyond the realm of industrial automation and precise machinery. Cultural robotics is part of the effort to extend robotics beyond cultural boundaries, creating greater diversity and inclusion for human users. The problem Traditionally, robots have been designed with a Western-centric viewpoint. Part of this tendency is about… Read more »

Robots Building Bridges

There’s something iconic about an old photograph of a skyscraper being built. Take the picture above for example. You’ve got a group of men oozing nonchalance, snacking, reading papers, and possibly drinking alcohol (far right), all while dangling their legs over an I-beam as if they had no idea they were hundreds of feet in… Read more »

Indramat Error Code F9001

Often, the people we get calls from have just discovered Indramat. Don’t think this is like lief Ericson discovering America. This is like discovering a malevolent goblin on your factory floor, since it normally happens only when the component breaks down, after so many years of faithful service that nobody realized it was there. Seeing… Read more »

Should Sophisticated Technology Be Used for Frivolous Purposes?

Is it wasteful to teach a robot to iron clothes? Robotics is a growing field, and it’s good that it is growing. Robotics is key in making huge technological advancements to benefit the entire world. If you follow robotics news in mass media, though, you’ll mostly see robots designed to do frivolous things. You occasionally… Read more »

Robots and Beer

Robots aren’t sticking to the car plants anymore. Robotics are growing more sophisticated and more versatile every day. Today, nearly any industry can benefit from some type of automation, and the number of industries taking advantage of that fact is growing. You probably wouldn’t be surprised to find out that there are robots that make… Read more »

UPS and Labor Dependency

Many companies announce a new automated system and then tack onto their announcement something like, “This new system will increase productivity, add jobs, and give our workers safer, more creative working conditions.” Often, nobody believes them. UPS is working on full automation at some of their facilities. They’re not being mealy-mouthed about it, either. They… Read more »

What Is Lights Out Manufacturing?

Robots have a number of advantages over human workers when it comes to manufacturing. Industrial robots work faster than people work. They can carry more weight, too. Unlike human workers industrial machines aren’t prone to errors. They don’t need breaks, they don’t get paid overtime, they don’t get hurt, and they don’t take holidays or… Read more »