Tuesday, March 1, 2022

4 Common Automation Myths

Diane Choi, Marketing Analyst  

Listed out are a few common misconceptions about industrial automation...

Automation is expensive

This statement requires a bit more context. Yes, automation comes at an overwhelming upfront cost, but today, there are many options and finance models servicing robotic solutions by subscription. The Formic’s offering, for example, delivers a custom solution at no upfront cost. Instead, the robot operates under a low hourly rate. Coupled with this subscription-based finance model, manufacturers can reach an ROI the second the robot lands on their shop floor.

Automation is stealing jobs

It is a common misconception that robots are taking jobs away from human workers in the manufacturing industry. In reality, there is a lack of human workers, with over 1 million open positions in manufacturing today (Bureau of Labor Statistics). Looking at the bigger picture, a study conducted by Wharton reveals that adopting robots actually results in more hiring overall. With automation comes improved productivity, and therefore hiring becomes a necessity to meet increasing demand. In support of this research, the World Economic Forum forecasts that automation will result in a net increase of 58 million jobs. How will this happen? Responsibilities will shift. Automation will take on the repetitive and dangerous tasks, ultimately giving human workers the opportunity to do more stimulating and high-level tasks. 

Automation is risky

When a manufacturer is first considering automation, it can seem overwhelming. This is a natural emotion, especially since the process of deploying automation is both new and complex. It usually involves risky investments, lengthy searches for the right vendors, and procurement delays. More importantly, most manufacturers don’t have the time to begin solving these issues with their busy day-to-day schedules. Automation does not need to be scary. With the right automation partner, the process could be as simple as pointing at the task they wish to automate, and having a customized solution delivered and installed. Formic and other Robotics-as-a-Service companies are the ultimate partner for low risk automation. Formic’s team of experts handle everything from top to bottom: shopping for vendors to purchase parts, programming and troubleshooting the system, while also offering a performance guarantee. With the Formic offering, deploying a robot is now simple, affordable, and risk-free. 

Automation is a one-size-fits-all solution

Automation is never 100% turn-key. There is always some customization. The engineers are responsible for taking the robot parts, and programming a customized solution to complete a specific task within the end-users workflow. Automation solutions are limited to that one specified application, whether it is palletizing boxes or precisely stamping a pile of metal rods. The capabilities of these custom solutions are rigid, and if the end-user attempts to change any of the specifications, the robot could incur some damages. These limitations do exist, however, an experienced team of engineers can find a robot solution to automate a large variety of tasks, from case packing to inspection, machine tending, and more. Every manufacturing facility could easily point to at least one task that we could automate. To learn more on what types of tasks are a good fit for automation, check out this blog written by our Co-founder, Misa Ilkhechi. 

Conclusion

Automation is still a new concept to many manufacturers. Today, we took the first step in debunking some of these myths to help those in becoming more familiar with robotics and automation. What other myths are you seeing?

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