Man vs Machine: Are robots a threat to jobs?

March 17 (Reuters) – MAN VS MACHINE: DOES A NEW BREED OF
ROBOT ON THE PRODUCTION LINE POSE A TRHEAT TO HUMAN JOBS?

Cobots, or collaborative robots, and humans are increasingly
working side-by- side on the manufacturing production line.

Robot butler’s are being introduced at Ford’s car plant in
Cologne, taking on tasks considered difficult or repetitive –
such as bending and lifting.

Previous production line robots traditionally weigh several
tonnes and are fenced off for safety but this new breed of cobot
is much lighter and safe to work with.

But how long can man compete with machines that are faster, more
accurate and never get tired?

Karl Anton, Director of Vehicle Operations at Ford of Europe,
says the debate should not be about man vs machine, but more
about the great potential of man and machine working together as
one highly skilled, streamline force.

“Going back to the old English butler, the English butler he
looks what his boss likes, what he needs, what the needs are
that he can serve him and that’s where we think the robot has a
place in our manufacturing world. So we check what are
repetitive works which are sometimes difficult to do, with
bending lifting, things like that, and this physically stressful
work should be done by a machine and the operator should do the
value added basis of it,” Anton said.

At Universal Robots in Denmark, a hub for innovation and the
world’s leading cobot producer, pioneering robot arms are being
designed and developed.

“That you can actually redeploy robots and move them around and
you can say they are very flexible machines is what defines a
collaborative robot compared to traditional robots and that’s
kind of the new development,” said CTO and Co-founder of
Universal Robots, Esben Østergaard.

Østergaard says rather than taking manufacturing jobs away from
people, cobots actually create jobs.

“So there’s no doubt robots are changing jobs like technology
has always changed jobs,” Østergaard says, “at every time we as
humans have introduced new technology to the world is that the
world has become richer and in this sense robots are no
different from any other technological innovation over the
years.”

The impact of cobots on the production line comes against the
backdrop of GMIS – the Global Manufacturing and
Industrialisation Summit – that’s taking place in Abu Dhabi at
the end of March. During this conference, hot topics in
manufacturing, like robotics, Industry 4.0, the Internet of
Things and Circular Economies, will be debated by some of the
top thought leaders in the world.

Content provided by Global Manufacturing and Industrialisation
Summit, via Reuters.

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