America is facing a labor shortage, and robots are helping to fill the gap. Robot orders were up by 40% in the first quarter of 2022, according to the Wall Street Journal, and it’s all because of the labor shortage.
The most recent figures for the U.S. show eleven million open jobs. There aren’t nearly that many jobseekers. Experts suggest that the labor gap could continue for years. After the 1918 pandemic, there were fewer workers and wages rose in response to the supply and demand change.
Wages have risen. After the 2020 pandemic, though, there are alternatives to raising wages. Robots are one of those alternatives.
What’s good about robot workers?
Robots can work longer hours than humans and don’t require breaks. Robots can work in dangerous or difficult situations that would be harmful to humans. They don’t catch or spread diseases. They do tasks more consistently and make fewer errors. Robots can even be cheaper than human beings for some jobs.
The pandemic and the resulting worker shortage have pushed a lot of companies to take the plunge into automation. Many companies felt that increasing automation was too expensive up front, or too complex. Being unable to find qualified hires changed the equation.
Robots began to look good.
What about when the labor shortage ends?
Some people are concerned about the increasing use of robots in the workforce. The labor shortage, they figure, is probably temporary. So what if companies go ahead and fill their factories with robots, and then there are more workers but not enough jobs?
“American workers are hoping that the tight pandemic labor market will translate into better pay,” said Time. “It might just mean robots take their jobs instead.”
“But the machines only automate work that requires limited intelligence,” Wired points out. In an article on warehouse robots, they lay out the fact that modern warehouse robots can lift and carry, but they can’t actually pull and pack an order.
Sales of robots are up, but few of those robots use artificial intelligence or machine learning. Those robots may make the headlines, but dumb robot arms are the ones actually in use in most cases.
Smart or not, if your robots are controlled by Indramat drive and control systems, we should be in your contacts list. We’re Indramat specialists, and we can keep your facility up and humming.
Call us for immediate assistance.