Posted by Bert Maes on August 6, 2010
Nigel Platt, Sales & Marketing Manager for ABB Limited’s UK robotics, firmly believes that manufacturing presents a massive opportunity for achieving a more balanced and prosperous economy. But the challenge now is to make sure that the growth that has been achieved continues to be sustained and built on. That is why robots should be a key part of our industrial future.
Over the past 20 years, robot capabilities have evolved massively. Especially in the areas of precision, repeatability, flexibility, simplicity and affordability there has been vast improvements.
The interesting thing is that robots and other automation technology don’t necessarily threat manual labour. “Robots may have video guidance and intelligent path control, and might perform better than the most skilled manual workers, but they still require lots of highly-skilled people to program and operate them,” says Platt. With the high level of deskilling in recent years, the vanishing of traditional manual engineering roles (resulting in a shortage of skilled operators), there are not a lot of other ways than robots and automation to protect the future of our economy’s manufacturing base.
Also with our high costs for raw materials and energy in particular, it’s vitally important for manufacturing companies to get products right first time while doing things better, more quickly and for less cost in order to outperform the next best company.
Whether it’s reducing breakages in a food packaging line or cutting and finishing metal products, robots can deliver precise and consistent performance at a much higher speed, enabling companies to increase yield and reduce overall production times whilst typically enhancing product quality. Even the smallest operations can now benefit just as much from robotic technology as a large automotive company. Introducing even just one robot to the factory floor resulted in benefits, ranging from reduced production costs even through to reduced energy consumption by turning off lighting and heating in the area where the robots are installed.
For manufacturing enterprises, technology start-ups or technical educational establishments there are ‘10 good reasons to invest in robots’:
1. Reduced operating costs
2. Improved product quality and consistency
3. Improved quality of work for employees
4. Increased production output rates
5. Increased product manufacturing flexibility
6. Reduced material waste and increased yield
7. Compliance with safety rules and improved workplace health and safety
8. Reduced labour turnover
9. Reduced capital costs
10. Optimising space in high-value manufacturing areas
Where training is concerned, ABB is actively fostering partnerships with technical colleges throughout the UK to help equip the next generation of engineers with the skills to operate, program and integrate robotic equipment into industrial applications. An example is our work with the New Engineering Foundation (NEF), where we run master classes in robotics for lecturers from technical colleges demonstrating the application of robotic technology, which they can then teach to their own students.
We also have the largest, dedicated industrial robot training school in the UK, based in Milton Keynes, which has recently invested £100,000 in new robots for some of its 10 cells, along with classroom materials. This school is open to representatives from any company wanting to get a better perspective on what robots can do.
With the right education and with the right technology investments we will be able to have a sustainable manufacturing base, producing innovative goods at competitive costs on home turf.
>> READ the full story: How robots could help sustain the UK’s manufacturing growth
PS… Wouldn’t it be cool if you could program a robot to play a musical symphony?
Posted in Solutions, Value of CNC | Tagged: abb, business, career, creativity, economy, education, employment, engineering, future, innovation, jobs, kids, leadership, life, Manufacturing, production, robotics, Shortage, skills, technology, Trends, video, vision | 1 Comment »
Posted by Bert Maes on January 21, 2010
Given the current downturn and the associated high unemployment in many markets, more people are looking for jobs.
BUT they don’t generally have the skills that organizations are looking for, according to the Manpower 2009 Talent Shortage Survey Results.
Their report shows again that today (2010) employers all over the world are fruitlessly looking for TECHNICALLY-SKILLED specialists:
- Skilled Trades: electricians, bricklayers, carpenters, cabinetmakers, masons, plumbers, welders, etc
- Sales Representatives
- Technicians: primarily production/operations, engineering or maintenance
- Accounting & Finance Staff
- Production Operators
- Secretaries, PAs, Administrative Assistants & Office Support Staff
The demand for engineers and technicians is rising since 15 years!
… And there are many indications that highly-skilled technologists are more wanted than ever…
i.e. those people with advanced hi-tech knowledge, able to manufacture complex goods (with high productivity) in the field of clean energy, robotics, bioengineering, nanotechnology, aerospace,…
Posted in Statistics | Tagged: aerospace, bioengineering, career, CNC, economy, education, employment, engineering, engineers, future, innovation, jobs, leadership, life, manpower, Manufacturing, nanotechnology, production, robotics, Shortage, skills, Statistics, talent shortage survey, technicians, technology, Trends, unemployment, vision | 2 Comments »
Posted by Bert Maes on January 5, 2010
The 10 fastest growing occupations, 2008-2018 – by Steve Tobak
- Biomedical engineers 72%
- Network systems and data communications analysts 53%
- Home health aides 50%
- Personal and home care aides 46%
- Financial examiners 41%
- Medical scientists 40%
- Physician assistants 39%
- Skin care specialists 37%
- Biochemists and biophysicists 37%
- Athletic trainers 37%
As you can see, eight of the ten are health related: home health care, services for elderly, nursing care facilities, offices of physicians,…
Steve Tobak believes that MANUFACTURING will shape our future:
George Friedman writes in his book “The next 100 years – a forecast for the 21st century“:
The single most important fact of the twenty-first century will be the end of the population explosion. During the 2020s the amount of retirees will be huge, resulting in a massive labor shortage. This shift will force us to increase productivity per worker, and as such force the world into a greater dependence on technology, particularly ROBOTS. (…) Professionals in the physical sciences, ENGINEERING, and health care will be the primary kinds of workers that are recruited.
I can’t agree more with Steve Tobak: MANUFACTURING i.e. robotics, sensors, 3D imaging, and new technology in general will play a big role in health care and lots of other industries.
Related post: Learn/teach about robots with 3D vision
Posted in Statistics | Tagged: 3D imaging, career, CNC, creation, creativity, economy, education, employment, engineering, future, george friedman, growth, innovation, jobs, leadership, list, Manufacturing, production, robotics, robots, sensors, Shortage, skills, Statistics, steve tobak, technology, Trends, vision | 2 Comments »
Posted by Bert Maes on November 5, 2009
Kids don’t like maths.
I talked about that in a previous post. I said that we’ll need better marketing, better teaching and better training equipment.
A BEST PRACTICE of this vision is ROBOTS in the classroom:
Teaching in robotics is an excellent way to engage students in science and math in a hands-on way.
“It’s so empowering to children to build something and program it to do something, and it does it. It’s better than any video game.” (Karlicia Berry, teacher Ponderosa Elementary School in Post Falls)
Kids get engaged and turned on while learning to build and write algorithms and program robots, i.e. while applying serious engineering.
And, believe it or not, Spokesman.com reports that this approach leads to careers in engineering and technology.
The students participating in the robotics project were nearly twice as likely to major in science or engineering and more than twice as likely as students in a comparison group to expect a career in science or technology.
More: Why “Generation Y” Loves Robots
More: Creating a Buzz: Robot Camp
Posted in Solutions, Uncategorized | Tagged: buzz, career, cars, CNC, creation, creativity, economy, education, employment, engineering, game, generation, Haas Automation, HTEC, innovation, kids, leadership, Manufacturing, marketing, maths, NASA, production, robotics, robots, Shortage, skills, spokesman, teaching, technology, Trends, vision, youth | Leave a Comment »