The robotics industry is on the rise. After taking a big hit due to the decline in manufacturing in the late 2000’s, the industry is emerging as strong as ever. In 2012, sales of robotics in North America alone were valued at $1.48 billion, a 27% increase from 2011 statistics. The use of robotics is becoming more widespread in a greater number of industries and being used across a broader range of applications.
This rise in robotics sales is not only a promising sign of economic growth, but it also shows companies’ increased interest in using automated technology to enhance productivity and decrease costs. Of the industries using robotics, sales to automotive OEMs and automotive component suppliers showed the largest increases from the previous year with 47% and 21%, respectively.
When we hear the word “automation,” we often think of people being replaced by machines. But that is not necessarily the case. Automation and robotics can actually help retain or even create jobs. If automation helps companies lower costs enough to the point that foreign labor is no longer cost-effective, we can retain work here in the U.S. instead of it being offshored to other countries. While the machines may have taken the place of low-skilled labor, an increase in demand for robots means there will still be the need for workers to create and build these machines, service them, manage the operations in which they are used, and sell the product they help create. Possessing the skills to run the machines will ensure workers aren’t replaced by them.
Source: Robotic Industries Association <www.robotics.org>