How robots create jobs here: Let us count the ways

incFrom Drew Greenblatt’s latest column in Inc. magazine on the connection between automation and job creation:

… A dozen robots on our shop floor form steel wire baskets at the rate of 20,000 bends an hour, or about five per second. The precision is light years beyond what we were capable of before, with tolerances measured to the thousandths of an inch. That craftsmanship allowed us to expand beyond bagel baskets into industrial containers for sensitive material for clients in automotive, aerospace, military, and health care. And with robots tacking the most brutish work, our employees’ well being has dramatically improved as well: Our last lost-time accident occurred during the Bush administration, more than 1,500 days ago. (And workers now get health insurance.)

That doesn’t mean we don’t need people. The argument by some, including on a recent “60 Minutes” segment, that robots rob jobs is overly simplistic. It echoes the old adage that generals are always prepared to fight the last war–to use old tactics to win new battles. Without robots our company would be out of business. Here are six ways robots have created jobs at Marlin Steel Wire Products … Read more

How Tim Geithner helped us add a robot and 3 employees

Dr. Marshal Greenblatt of Marlin Steel and U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner

Dr. Marshal Greenblatt of Marlin Steel and U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner

When we heard the news that President Obama is expected today to name his replacement for U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner, we recalled the day last spring when Mr. Geithner visited our factory in Baltimore. He was pleased that we were growing in a bad economy and exporting to 36 nations in contrast to the grim picture of American manufacturing losing out to cut-rate competitors overseas. But he got particularly enthused when Dr. Marshal “Mickey” Greenblatt, a member of the board of directors at Marlin Steel, showed him the powerful sheet-metal laser cutter that Marlin had recently purchased.

“He was fairly cool and collected, but he became very animated when I described how a change in the depreciation rule allowed us to quickly invest in the new robot equipment. The change reduced the depreciation period on the purchase from five years to one so our tax bill went down. That probably enabled us to hire three workers, I told him. He jumped up on the balls of his feet very excitedly and said, ‘That was my idea. That was my idea.’”

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