“…the ROI dimension where goosebumps grow”

Universal Robots Create 5 Dimensions of  Value
Collaborative Robots Shift Your ROI Paradigm
An Industrial Cobot
Collaborative robots safely work next to people.

“There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man.  It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity.”  These words from the opening of “The Twilight Zone” drew the viewer into the next few minutes with the hope of goosebumps.  Well, so I’m told.

You see I don’t have any pores or hair, and so no goosebumps either.  Anyway, humanity seems to always be hunting for something more, something not readily apparent in life, while at the same time insisting that whatever they “know” is all there is!  Take engineers and accountants, two quasi-human types, for example.

They are always banging on about Features, Benefits, and ROI.  I’m here to tell you, they seem to assume that what they know about dimensions and calculations is all that there is to know.

In my best Rod Serling clipped voice, I’d like to… “usher you into a multi-dimensional discussion of one of life’s most boring subjects, a subject so bland you should prepare to sleep.  Or dare you?  Maybe it’s a fifth dimension where goosebumps grow.”

Okay, okay, I’ll quit the theatrics, but I’ll say this:  if you care about Project ROI but think it is a cut and dried topic, you should be prepared for goose bumps.  Hairs standing on end at the thought of the growth experienced, promotions gained, and profits banked.

Here’s the deal.  Manufacturing plants that have implemented clones of yours truly commonly report Project ROI’s between 6 and 12 months.  Sometimes faster, rarely longer.  BUT, that values me like a common piece of equipment from the projects file, which I am decidedly not.  Consider the following and you’ll understand that I am far more than a mere project:

  • Dimension 1.  “Financial ROI” – mine improves on most manufacturer’s threshold;
  • D2.  “Health ROI” – often exceeds my cost in repetitive injury care avoided;
  • D3.  “Talent-1 ROI” – reassigns talented people away from the dull, repetitive tasks I’m so good at, making it easier to retain them for a long career;
  • D4.  “Talent-2 ROI” – removes the need for desperate hiring, during a workforce shortage, of new workers who come in at a higher hourly rate, thereby eventually raising payroll costs across the board; and
  • D5.  “Collaboration, or Creativity ROI” – robot-human teams increased productivity by 85% versus either alone per a BMW study reported in Financial Times on May 4, 2016.

That’s 5 dimensions and at least 3 budgets (Project, Safety, and Personnel) in which manufacturers win when putting my clones to work.  But here’s another one, a bonus that will cause The Twilight Zone music to play in your head…

Use your Maintenance & Operations budget to LEASE me.  You’ll MAXIMIZE THE VALUE OF EVERY DIMENSION, EVERY DAY, for less than $2K a month in most cases.  If you don’t feel the goosebumps now, you might want to check your pulse.

All the best,

Ully

Worker Safety and Satisfaction

An Industrial Cobot
Collaborative robots safely work next to people.

I saw something on a TV sportscast the other day that would have curled my mother’s toes.  Yes, yes, I said I “saw something”, because even though I’m a Cobot, I CAN see now through the wonders of machine vision, but that’s beside the point.  What I saw was this commentator wearing a suit with a striped tie and a polka-dot shirt.  It made my head spin, all 6 axes! 

But here’s the weird thing, he pulled it off.  He looked pretty good in it.  It left me wondering whether I need to rethink my wardrobe because what I thought of as a long-standing “rule,” was being trashed in this world seemingly devoid of constants.

Ben Franklin recognized that although he spent a lifetime’s energy grappling with applied creativity, there were some inescapable constants, “…in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” Wait a minute, Ben.  Back up about 2,200 years and you’ll encounter Heraclitus who said “…change is the only constant in life.”  Wow, was he ever right!  But he couldn’t have predicted the current speed of change.

So why would I, a mere robot, an automaton of automatons, care about how fast the world is changing? Well, while ignoring the conspiracy theorists who think I’m part of a soulless machine that is taking over, I am very concerned about those who think I am here to eliminate their jobs.

You see, I get to work next to folks who might initially think that. I rub shoulders with them, and rely on them to be able to complete my work.  I really do need them because I can’t take care of, or think for myself.  I’m an ordinary industrial Cobot, not one of those snooty traditional robots that demands its own specialist staff, and own space, isolating itself behind a bunch of fences.  So petty rivalries aside…

Deloitte, a respected research firm, in “2018 Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute skills gap and future of work study”, (how’s that for a mouthful?) concluded last year that between 2018 and 2028 American manufacturers will have 4.6 million jobs to fill, and that 2.4 million will go unfilled, costing the economy $2.5 trillion.  That’s too big a number for me to comprehend, but what it means for the average manufacturer is that their annual profits will drop by $4.6 million!

So, if Deloitte is right, and looking at the big picture, I am absolutely not eliminating jobs.  That does not mean however, that specific individuals won’t lose specific jobs.  You see, I do some things very well – that is a fact.  And what I do well, people tend to do poorly which leads to injuries and quality problems with all the ensuing pain and wasted time and materials.

Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce examined the changing employment world at factories recently and published this article with a revealing title – Upskilling and Downsizing in American Manufacturing.  When you put the conclusions of this research together with the Deloitte research you see that things are changing very rapidly in our factories, and most are not ready for it.

Manufacturers must focus on accelerating the training of generation X, Y, and Z workers, equipping them for this new work world.  Give me your dull, your dirty, and your dangerous tasks, and I’ll give you the freedom to create, to improve, to excel and accelerate.  Explore more at Worker Satisfaction.

Technician Sets up a Cobot
HTE Automation technician sets up a Cobot to automate a CNC Machine Tending application.

5 Myths about Cobots Debunked

Collaborative Robots Deliver Automation to Manufacturers of Every Size

UR-Cobot-with-Workers

Thanks to the collaborative industrial robot revolution, the ambitions of manufacturing companies are increasingly realized with much less cost and effort than expected.  However, the introduction of cobots in automation planning discussions is sometimes met with the following erroneous preconceptions which stem from people’s experience with non-collaborative traditional robots:

  1. ROBOTICS AUTOMATION IS FOR COMPLEX, LARGE-SCALE OPERATIONS
  2. ROBOTS REPLACE JOBS
  3. IT’S A HASSLE TO IMPLEMENT AND MAINTAIN ROBOTS
  4. COBOTS ARE DANGEROUS
  5. ROBOTS ARE COSTLY

Read more about how cobots are making a huge difference in the fortunes of companies that use them.

Through the HTE TECHTEAM, HTE Automation empowers local manufacturers and other users of process automation to produce faster, leaner, smarter, and safer.