Automation propelling quality, productivity, safety and speed

Nice article this month about the impact of automation on Marlin Steel in Area Development Online, a website that focuses on site selection, facility planning and economic development.

As Beth Mattson-Teig writes:

… Automation is taking root and changing the face of manufacturing among companies both large and small. Case in point is Baltimore-based Marlin Steel Wire. A decade ago, employees were bending wire by hand to make steel baskets. Owner Drew Greenblatt saw demand plummet as the company’s primary clientele, bagel shops, shifted their orders to cheaper Chinese manufacturers. “He made the decision to transform his business and invest in automation to build baskets for many different industries,” says Bob Doyle, a spokesperson for the Association for Advancing Automation. Today, Marlin Steel Wire makes baskets for the automotive, aerospace, and pharmaceutical industries. Those clients have significantly higher design specifications compared to the bagel shop owners, notes Doyle. “The only way [Marlin Steel Wire] could do that was to invest in automation, both in robotics and other types of manufacturing technologies,” says Doyle. …

 

The article points out that 2012 set a record for the North American robotics industry, and sales and orders for the first half of 2013 continued at record pace. About 230,000 robots are in use in U.S. factories, second to Japan, according to the Robotic Industries Association.

“60 Minutes” story on robots: A malfunction

CBS' "60 Minutes" : March of the Machines

CBS’ “60 Minutes” : March of the Machines

The bias in CBS’ “60 Minutes” segment on robots Sunday night was evident from the opening illustration of robot fingers shredding a “HELP WANTED” sign, in case you wondered if there were two sides. Steve Kroft’s piece portrayed the false notion that without automation, all those robots performing tedious tasks around the clock would be replaced by American workers. As the piece noted, the robots are more apt to threaten the low-wage, repetitive-type jobs that built China into an industrial power. The choice for the future of American manufacturing isn’t no robots = more jobs. It’s more like more robots = more opportunities to win orders which will create more USA jobs. The brighter future involves embracing automation with workers given opportunities to operate and interface with robots. Continue reading