Almost as hot as the recent heat wave sizzling in much of the U.S. are the topics of robotic manufacturing, jobs and industrial automation. So, in today’s edition of Cobot Recap, we’ve boiled it down to seven headlines so you don’t have to break a sweat searching for industry news you can use.
If you own a Roomba, you can thank Rodney Brooks, because he’s the co-founder of iRobot. He launched the company almost three decades ago when he was a professor at MIT. Well, today, he’s at it again. He’s trying to disrupt the world of industrial robotics. [In The Art of Manufacturing podcast] he warns us about the hype of artificial intelligence and the potential of collaborative robotics. via Make It In LA
One reaction to rising wages in some areas of China has been for manufacturers to shift work toward poorer places, where wages can differ greatly, or out of the country entirely. Cities meanwhile use tax breaks and subsidies to keep factories competitive: About half of the companies in the Wuhan University study had accepted such aid. And, as in the US, more expensive labor makes automation more attractive. via Quartz
“How do you get young people interested in a very different manufacturing from what their parents and grandparents may think manufacturing looks like today? That really is sort of the genesis of where we go with all of this.” via WKSU
There’s a good chance something you’ve bought online has been in the hands of a “picker” first. These are the workers in warehouses who pick, pack and ship all those things we’re ordering. At Amazon and other companies, they’re working side by side with robots. Experts say while the robots are replacing some human workers, the machines aren’t quite ready to take over completely. via NPR
As The Washington Post puts it, if automation were to replace humans as quickly as has been rumored, the American economy would already see a seismic change beginning — and we aren’t. We would expect to see unemployment increasing as workers are rapidly displaced, but advanced economies like the U.S., Japan, Germany, and South Korea are nearly at full employment, despite high levels of installed automated machinery. via Observer
In the last few years in a blue-collar neighborhood in Duluth, several small manufacturers have joined together to brand themselves as a “craft district” that includes Aerostich, breweries, potters, even a shoemaker. Many of these production jobs pay around $10 to $15 an hour. And while data is hard to come by, anecdotally, this kind of small-scale manufacturing is spreading nationwide, from New York and San Francisco to smaller cities like Cincinnati and Portland, Oregon. via Marketplace
“It is common to hear today of Tesla owners saying they are getting a software upgrade overnight,” said Curtis Wilson, vice president of engineering and research for Omron Delta Tau Data systems. In the near future it won’t just be software. “There may come an expectation in the very near future where someone may purchase a car with two rows [of seats] and then demand a third row when they have a child, rather than purchase a new car,” he said. via AdvancedManufacturing.org
Want more refreshing, curated news on the manufacturing and automation front? Dive into Cobot Central for additional headlines. Or tread on over to the Rethink video gallery to see how manufacturers of all sizes are using smart, collaborative robots on the factory floor.
About the Author
I'm Jeff Green, senior content and social media strategist at Rethink Robotics. When I'm not socializing Sawyer and Baxter, our smart, collaborative robots, I'm usually caught up in the home tornado, also known as my three kids. Love them, my wife, old-school Chinese food, movies, and of course game-changing technology.