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Here’s a fact, and it’s a hard, cold one at that but did you know that Industrial Automation raked in a whopping $209 Billion in revenue in 2020. Yes, 2020 that 2020 and that means that after the year that taught us how few of us are inherently required to power the planet, that figure is only going to grow and if you own a business or an industrial enterprise it’s time to start paying attention.
Especially, if you haven’t been doing so already.
What are the big, upcoming innovations in industrial automation?
Whatever manufacturing function that you can think of that is currently being done by a human, there’s probably a plan at play to have that function automated and while that means big profits for business, the potential consequences to the labour force could be devestating.
But before you start renting and rewatching all of the Terminator movies, it’s a strange paradox that while automation costs some jobs, it creates others, in this report by the World Economic Forum, they predict that the rise in automation and robotics could increase the net job market by 58 Million.
So the big advances to look out for come from some of the global economies key industries:
Pharmaceutical and healthcare industries
Agriculture and food production
Logistics and transportation
Each of these industries presents exciting opportunities that include self-driving vehicles, automated harvesting equipment, automated supply chain and logistics and the deployment of drone technology for product delivery and emergency healthcare distribution, it’s very exciting.
Automation can also improve your health and safety record
So this is a self-fulfilling statement but to understand the practical implications of this, consider this scenario. You’re a company that produces chemical agents for industrial applications. However, your end product requires mixing two potentially ignitable agents and having humans do this presents a significant risk to personal safety. Your solution? Air mixers which are specifically designed for this purpose. Read more here.
Automation for small and medium-sized businesses
The potential benefits that small and medium-sized businesses could gain from automation include employee retention by eliminating boring tasks, increased productivity and high levels of production, cost reduction and optimal efficiency, increased product quality, less downtime due to injury or “human error” and a faster cost on your R.O.I in terms of your production.
There is always going to be a human element when it comes to discussing automation and this cannot be underplayed, the pace at which society enters this next phase of our industrialization has to be measured by the environmental and human impact potential. But, as is often the case with human ingenuity, the apparent source of the problem could also lead to the solution.
Automation industries are growing, fast and with that comes a whole new level of skill from engineers, technicians, analysts and developers that will all have many in-demand skills. There’s also the fact that governments in the developing world are already considering how to tax foreign companies in their jurisdictions who automate at the cost of jobs so that safety nets can be built into social security agencies.
We have to find ways of making our businesses successful again, and automation presents many possible solutions.
It’s an incredibly exciting field and if you do it well, you’ll reap the benefits for a long time.