What if robots could take on all the heavy and dangerous tasks in a manufacturing facility—making work safer and more efficient? Imagine a smart robot keeping a production line up and running even if the employees had to work remotely. Or, consider collaborative robots (cobots) emerging from factory floors into new parts of our world, such as healthcare, helping nurses disinfect spaces and lift heavy patients, or assist with administering certain tests to minimize health risks to workers.
All of this is actually happening right now. In fact, it’s thought that by 2025, the time spent on tasks at work by humans and machines will be equal.1 With industries such as healthcare and manufacturing facing new challenges and demands—on top of labor and supply chain issues—increased automation in all areas of society helps increase productivity and improve quality of life.
Dramatic changes are on the horizon, and fast approaching, and Analog Devices, Inc. (ADI) is uniquely positioned to help robotic technology meet these challenges head on.
Cobots don't get sick
ADI is helping developers around the globe enable humans to live and work alongside smaller, more flexible and more controlled robots to better augment and enhance human capabilities. As more industries adopt cobots, businesses see greater efficiencies and safety thanks to improved productivity, and greater safety measures.
Granted, no one expects people to work like machines. We’re not cold and heartless. We need coffee breaks, and vacations, and water cooler chatter over football. On the flip side, robots/cobots never get sick or take days off – except for the occasional downtime for maintenance. But for businesses who run 24/7, think about the improved productivity cobots bring to the table as they busily do their jobs at mind-numbing, menial tasks at 3 AM, while their human co-workers are sleeping. This is to say nothing for overcoming bottlenecks in manual processes (and supply chains) which was a major issue during the pandemic and beyond.
Attacking the 3Ds of manufacturing: Dirty, Dull, Dangerous
Cleaning floors. Pressing widgets. Lifting a 3-ton chassis. Robot were created to take on manufacturing’s toughest, dirtiest, most boring challenges. Look no further than the disaster of the COVID-19 pandemic to prove cobots worth: helping manufacturers face unforeseen labor challenges, or aiding hospitals cleaning, sanitizing rooms, which enabled doctors and nurses to focus on treating patients.
There’s no question, robots are a godsend for manufacturers trying to compete, grow and keep a thriving, engaged workforce. So how does ADI help in all this? At the heart of robot/cobot development is a passion to leverage forward-thinking technologies to help humankind—which also happens to be embedded in our DNA here at ADI. By using ADI’s advancements in sensing, measurement and power, robot manufacturers can enhance a robot's performance, and enable better control and system functionality while increasing precision system control. ADI’s system solutions also help deliver technologies which aid in cobot size requirements -- critical to safe operation alongside humans.
Overall, if there’s one thing to remember about robots it’s this: fear not about robots/cobots being job crushers. In fact, according to the McKinsey Global Institute, more than 90% of jobs will not be fully automatable in the future, meaning robots will work together with humans.2
So while your next co-worker may soon be a cobot, they can never replace those personal, one-on-one interactions that most jobs require. Plus, they don’t know squat about football.
2 A Future That Works: Automation, Employment, and Productivity, McKinsey Global Institute