Is There a Downside to Industrial Automation?

Industrial machines improved working conditions for factory workers and revolutionized manufacturing. At first glance, it seems as though industrial automation is all pro and no con. However, some people worry that increased automation could lead to some negative effects for workers in the industrial sector.

The benefits of industrial automation

  • Modern industrial robots greatly improve safety for factory workers.
  • Installing machines is much cheaper than employees in the long run.
  • Precise motion control leads to less wasted material.
  • Machines are more efficient than human workers.
  • Factory robots means higher productivity.
  • Machines are more consistent than people. This means that you can mass produce products with virtually no variation.
  • Industrial automation makes work easier for human workers.
  • Because industrial automation is cheaper, faster, and more efficient than employees, there are more goods available for consumers — not just more volume, but more variety as well.
  • Industrial automation also makes goods cheaper for consumers.

The downside to industrial automation

Industrial automation allows for mass production of goods. While there are certain advantages to mass production, this also means that goods aren’t as special or unique as they would be if they were made by humans. This is one of the reasons why there is still a market for artisan and craft goods.

Having the ability to adapt to an unexpected occurrence is a good skill to have in manufacturing. Currently, our factory robots can’t adapt; they simply shut down if something strange happens. Our industrial machines are getting more capable everyday, however. Advancements in AI could eventually lead to versatile, adaptive robots.

Another downside to industrial automation is a change in culture. Cheap, mass-produced goods lead to a throwaway mentality. Since things are cheap and interchangeable, people are more likely to replace broken and worn goods with new ones.

One of the biggest concerns with automation is the disappearance of industrial jobs. Robots can do the work of several employees, and they can do it faster, more efficiently, cheaper, and more reliably. There’s the argument that automation actually creates more jobs — and more meaningful and desirable work — but fewer and fewer Americans work in manufacturing today because of an increase in automation.

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Regardless of whether you view industrial automation as a good thing or a bad thing, there’s no denying that factory machines are irreplaceable in modern manufacturing. There’s no way that you could meet the needs of your business if your system shuts down, even if you had dozens of skilled workers on call.

Let us help make sure that your Indramat system stays at its best with preventive inspection and maintenance. We’re available 24/7 for Indramat error code troubleshooting and Indramat factory repair services. Call 479-422-0390 for immediate Indramat assistance.