How Is Automation Changing the Manufacturing Industry?

Automation in the manufacturing industry

Our world is changing as advances in technology continue. Artificial intelligence and machine learning have allowed for the digital world to streamline processes, creating new opportunities for industries like hospitality and healthcare. But how have these advances impacted manufacturing?

Automation is changing how workers interact with machines, how processes are created, and the different types of equipment needed for the factory floor. If you’re interested in learning more about how these advances in AI and automation are impacting manufacturing, (for both good and bad!) continue reading.

More Efficient Processes

As automation increases, the risk of human error decreases substantially and efficiency rises. This doesn’t mean that manual labour will be completely eradicated—there will always be a need for real human workers. But processes can be streamlined and made more efficient. This is also good news for employees.

Automation tends to take over jobs that are deemed as repetitive and dull, which sometimes is the reason for human error. With automation taking over these tasks, employees can focus on other areas of their jobs that require more skill and critical thinking. On top of that, upskilling and enhanced education can lead to employees feeling more fulfilled at their jobs, contributing to work that they find meaningful, which makes for a better work environment.

Additionally, automation can save on labour costs and enhance the overall quality of production as workers are now focused on tasks that are perhaps more niche and fulfilling.

Safety Increases

Automation can increase safety through the use of robotics. Assembly line workers within automobile manufacturing, for example, work alongside robots to speed up processes but also to offload certain dangerous tasks. With the use of robots, workers don’t have to handle certain dangerous chemicals and are not at risk of lifting or moving heavy equipment that could otherwise cause serious damage. A more recent example of how robotics have increased safety is their application throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Workers who needed to stand close together on the factory floor were more at risk of the illness. This is where “cobots'' or collaborative robots really came in handy, as employees could work alongside these machines while maintaining social distancing measures. Sanitation efforts also increased with the help of automation, as floor and surface cleaning could be carried out automatically by machines.

While manual processes like drill presses and grinding machines might always be needed, especially for smaller-scale productions, automated machines that protect safety should be implemented when possible. Dust and fume collectors, for example, are a great use of sanitation automation as they can effectively clear hazardous materials from a factory floor or particles within the air.

worker inspecting equipment

Aids With Small Scale Projects

Automation doesn’t always occur on a large scale. Smaller scale automation with hand-held tools has benefited companies and workers greatly for years. Take automatic dispensers for example. If a manufacturing job requires detail oriented manual work, automated handheld tools are crucial. They can mitigate fatigue and help workers perform their tasks a lot faster. Electrical sensors and automated lighting are also valuable to the manufacturing processes, assisting workers’ performance.

Any type of sealant that needs to be applied strategically and uniformly will require a certain amount of precision that the average person might not be able to achieve on their own. Or, if you’re finding that you’re juggling multiple tasks and your hands are too busy to reach for something small like a piece of tape, automatic dispensers really come in handy. It seems like a small thing, but it can make a world of a difference.

Adapting With the Times

Automation is helping the manufacturing industry by allowing workers to focus on tasks that are more meaningful and challenging. Some people equate an increase in AI and automation with the loss of a human workforce, it’s actually quite the opposite. While there are certain tasks that can be taken over by automated tools, this means that workers can learn more complicated tasks, upskill, and even increase their safety.

We’re always on the lookout for new and exciting industry advancements, so if you want to stay up-to-date, continue checking our website for more news!

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