The influence of robotics has been growing within industries, but a human element included in the process of using this technology remains essential in insuring the procedure runs smoothly, as it stands in the current market. The introduction of industrial robotics has been integrated within companies for years, but is a comprehensive human-robot collaboration the best approach to increasing productivity?
The human element
Automation isn’t replacing the need for human interaction in manufacturing. It is creating new opportunities for people. The human element is about creating machines and working to continually improve their performance on production efficiency. The challenge with machines is that when there’s a fault, they often can’t self-diagnose, and even when the machine is able to alert to a specific fault, it can’t fix it on its own. Therefore, without human interaction, productivity would be hindered. Collaboration between humans and robots, means that safety will always remain high on the agenda of people in manufacturing.
Production data and its connections
The current digitalisation of production is becoming connected with virtual data, and certain possibilities are opening up; production data is recorded and delivered in real-time, capturing precise moments when production is at its best and worst, this supports with efficiency of maintenance, amongst other things.
As well as having staff on site to manage any faults, automated machines can be remotely managed so individuals operating the technology don’t have to be in the factory to do so. The question is could we have a future where certain manufacturing plants don’t have people operating them? There may be a time in the future where people aren’t needed to be on site to operate this technology, until then we may expect to see site managers making regular checks on the equipment, rather than a team on site full time.
How SME’s can benefit
The benefits that SME’s can gain from the sustained use of such technology are vast. They will see an increase in productivity as more products can be made with less capacity, which will lead to an increase in output. They will then experience quicker growth through maximising outputs of the process. Not to mention the ability of evolution within the business, the development of products and processes will be able to move faster with the use of this technology.
How manufacturers can upskill their staff
The simple way that manufacturers can upskill their staff in order to increase productivity by introducing such technology in the business, is training. Investing in your staff’s training in the relevant areas that will benefit your business the most, will grow the business and promote productivity.
The jobs this technology will create
At the moment, in what is a rather unpredictable marketplace, it would seem that automation is having a positive impact on the number of jobs that are becoming available. Particularly for project managers and operational leaders with experience in automation. The continual upskilling of operators will promote a continuous improvement within your business and for your staff.
For more management tips be sure to browse our advice here or, have a look at our article on the 2018 economy and the impacts of automation.
Associate Director, Michael Page