Who has never dreamed of robots performing all of our tasks? How amazing would it be to have a technology to simplify our lives? This, to a certain extent, became a reality in the manufacturing industry.
Technology has advanced really fast since the Industrial Revolution in the 1800’s. Earlier before, manufactured goods were handmade; each worker was in charge of a part of the product and when each component was completed they would put it all together. Little by little, machines started to substitute human work. Today, technologies such as robotics and automation have conquered the manufacturing industry. While this has benefited many, it has also affected others.
One of the major and most important benefits technology has contributed to humans in the manufacturing industry is workplace safety. People don’t have to perform activities that put their life in danger anymore; they mainly need to supervise the machines and make sure they are working correctly. Of course, they have special equipment to protect themselves like industrial boots and masks. There are also other advantages of technology in the manufacturing industries, like the reduction of waste, improvement of quality and reliability, more savings, better efficiency and shorter cycle times, etc.
Several of these benefits are actually due to the elimination of human errors, that caused almost 80% of process deviations in this industry, by substituting them with machines. It’s not hard to realize the good impact technology has had in the manufacturing world; Higher quality products are now on the market at lower prices.
A good example is the fact that manufacturers, today, have the chance to simulate changes before implementing them in their factories. This can help them create optimal processes, maximize quality and minimize costs. Tracking is also easier for them as there are many softwares that help companies plan and control their operations in real time.
On the other hand, many believe that people have been affected by these changes too. The general belief is that a lot of people have lost their jobs as they were replaced by robots. However, machines require tasks such as setting them up and maintenance, which only humans can do. Therefore, this has caused a huge dispute, does technology destruct jobs or does it create new ones?
Technology keeps advancing at a high speed, probably one day we won’t require humans anymore to do a lot of tasks in factories. However, I believe people shouldn’t worry about this, instead, they should adapt to change and look ahead. Humans, we, should prepare for new types of jobs, for instance, these machines would need some caring like repairing them or giving them maintenance. We should rethink our learning cycle and curve to include these changes and see how we can develop new careers that are complementary with technology so we can prepare the next generation to an era where we coexist with robots.