The Essential Guide: Robotics and Automated Machine Safety
Even as companies are just now realizing the full array of benefits provided by Industry 4.0, there is a new industrial revolution on the horizon that integrates mankind and machine in ways only sci-fi movies once imagined. Industry 5.0 promises a workforce of human and machine collaborators capable of lightning fast efficiency with reduced risk. If Industry 4.0 allows people to work smarter, then Industry 5.0 is going to let facilities work harder. And that’s a good thing. While technology will never come back down from the cloud created by Industry 4.0, this new wave of tech is poised to make a huge transformation to all those robots in manufacturing plants and material handling warehouses. If it seems like robots are everywhere in industrial facilities today, it’s because they are. The International Federation of Robotics reports that 422,271 new industrial robots were installed in 2018. A total of 55,212 of those robots were installed in the U.S., which was a 20% increase from 2017. The IFR also estimates that more than 3 million robots are operating across the planet in 2020, which is double the number of robots on Earth in 2014. Looking deeper into the data, these robots are becoming more involved in material handling operations; representing 42% of the increase, according to the IFR. The Robotic Industries Association (RIA) shows that North American robot unit orders were up more than 5% in late 2019, year-over-year. A majority of those orders were in expected industries like automotive OEMs and plastics/ rubber. But food/consumer goods ranked just behind. While it’s exciting to harness the potential of adding robots to a team of skilled workers, there are important factors to consider before making a major purchase. It’s critical for facility managers of manufacturing facilities, processing plants, warehouses, and distribution centers to remain up-to-date on robotics standards to ensure safety for workers and compliance with governing organizations.