By Tim Heaton | Sep 11, 2016
George Devol designed the first programmable industrial robot in 1954. The auto industry took the lead in the adoption of robots and now claims more than half of all industrial robots deployed in U.S. manufacturing. Current robot design is the direct result of the influence of the auto industry. Today, other sectors such as electronics, aerospace, medical, and consumer products have realized the benefits of automation technologies, and are expected to implement robotic processes at an accelerated pace over the next five years. Robot manufacturers are listening to the voice of these new customers and starting to understand their needs to influence future designs and capabilities.
Small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs, defined as companies with fewer than 500 employees) make up 99 percent of all firms in the US. In the past, only large companies could afford robotics. Financially, automation was out of reach for most SMEs. The price of robots is now decreasing to levels that make them affordable for most smaller companies. SMEs are the backbone of the U.S. economy, and automation integration would drive major gains in productivity and competitiveness.
What are the current trends in robotic manufacturing automation in the United States?
How do you determine what to automate?
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CAMA and EWI are hosting robotics events at Woodward in Fort Collins on Sept. 21 and Southern Colorado FourFront Fuse Impact Center in Colorado Springs on Sept. 22.