Blurring the Line Between Workers and Robots

Human workers and robots have their own distinct sets of advantages. People are versatile and adapt well to changing situations. Machines tirelessly execute tasks with precision. This is why humans have their jobs in factories and industrial machines have their jobs; there’s very little collaboration between workers and robots in industrial settings. However, we’re beginning to see the lines blur between tasks that are for workers and tasks that are for robots.

Establishing the line between man and machine

Manufacturing used to be back-breaking and dangerous work. In fact, the horrific working conditions during the Industrial Revolution are what led to many modern laws and regulations regarding wages, hours, and ages for workers.

While many of the risks that workers in factories faced were directly because of machinery, automation eventually made factories safer and work easier for factory workers. Industrial robots and factory machines helped lighten the load for human workers, both literally and by removing workers from hazardous work environments.

Not all tasks in factories can be automated, though. Factories still have many tasks that must be performed by people. 

Robots are great, but we still need workers

There are still many jobs that require human skills like problem-solving, adjusting to unforeseen circumstances, and handling unpredictable materials. It’s not possible or not practical to automate these tasks, so workers still fill these positions. Many of these workers are at risk for repetitive motion injuries, muscle strains, and other common workplace injuries.

So how do we protect workers in these situations?

Paradoxically, machines are once again the solution. Only this time machines aren’t taking over tasks and displacing human workers; instead, they are enhancing the human worker’s ability to perform tasks.

Exoskeleton suits help enhance human workers

An increasing number of automotive manufacturers are testing out robotic exoskeletons; these exoskeletons are mechanical suits that workers wear to increase strength, reduce fatigue, and prevent injuries.

Hyundai, Ford, and General Motors are all experimenting with these robotic suits for their assembly line workers. The suits are also being used to help workers carry luggage at airports, and to help with food delivery

The technology for these suits was originally developed to assist people who could not walk. The U.S. military also explored this technology to assist soldiers in the field carry heavy loads.

This is a great example of robots that are designed to improve the work that humans do rather than replace or displace workers.

No matter how helpful these suits turn out to be, there will always be a need for industrial automation and large factory robots. We offer preventive inspection, maintenance, and repair for Indramat motion control systems.

Simply call for 479-422-0390 for immediate Indramat service or support.