I read an article from Dan Davis, Editor-in-Chief of the fabricator magazine, and noted with satisfaction that a global industrial robot maker, ABB, has opened their first robot manufacturing plant in America, near Detroit. For robotic sales in America, they say order lead times will drop from 15 to 6 weeks. So despite others’ trepidation about robots displacing workers, I know that more automation fuels the need for skilled technicians coming out of community colleges or vocational schools. And that’s great news for us in iNAM. As I wrote in a blog 18 months ago on these pages:

He [a contract manufacturer] said that not one person has lost a job there with the introduction of more automation and robotics in their manufacturing cells. Not only has quality risen with the removal of humans from tedious jobs such as optical inspection or packaging, but displaced workers were given additional training for more complex jobs resulting in higher pay for them. Furthermore, the increased quality resulted in more company-wide bonuses for all employees. And increased quality begets more sales as customers give them more work which again fuels the need for more trained workers.

ABB provided some examples of the productivity improvement that robotics delivers to businesses and I applaud their foresight to move some manufacturing to America. To me it is a no-brainer; bring it on! I say. Dan closed his article with the statement “Robotic automation is moving from being a competitive differentiator to being a competitive necessity.” I wholeheartedly agree.

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