We traveled to Wisconsin, this time to visit with an injection molding company, Plastic Molded Concepts. It never ceases to amaze me how much manufacturing takes place in Wisconsin. Great news, right? Yes and no. Larry Floyd, President and Founder of PMC estimates that the unemployment rate in Wisconsin has dropped to almost 2% (US unemployment is just above 4%). And it could drop more since a multinational electronics manufacturer has announced plans for a new plant in Wisconsin.
What’s not surprising? The labor shortage. There is fierce competition for labor throughout the US. So many manufacturers tell us they can’t fill the jobs they have available – not able to add another shift, not able to take customer orders because they can’t fill them. According to Larry Boyd, PMC suffers from a revolving door syndrome – they cannot keep workers on the line. Flexible factory automation is necessary for the survival of your manufacturing facility, not just its growth.
PMC picked Sawyer as their first collaborative robot (cobot) and the answer to their need for robotic automation. The team at PMC had the cobot up and running in no time, surprised by how easy the Intera software was to use. And that was even before they hired their first automation engineer, who, by the way, hails from the New England area, graduated from WPI (one of Rethink’s first education customers) and grew up learning on Rethink’s collaborative robots. But that is a blog post for a different day!