Labor shortages and packaging requirements are among the top issues driving manufacturers to research how the use of robotics can not only, ease these issues, but drive up throughput to meet demand. End of line packaging and palletizing can be done using robotics and many times in a smaller footprint and improve the quality of the process.
Watch our Two Question Interview to learn about why many manufacturers and fulfillment centers are turning to robot integrators to meet their new demands.
I spoke with Earl Raynal, Manager of Sales Development at Motion Controls Robotics, to ask what he is hearing from customers that contact us to learn more about robotic options.
What concerns or issues are you hearing from potential customers about needing robotics to keep their processes running?
First of all, I need to qualify my answers; MCRI is a company focused on the picking, packing, and palletizing segment of industrial automation. So the issues/concerns I hear focus around those type of applications
First, the Manufacturers I talk to are seeing an ever-increasing demand from customers for packaging flexibility. Retailers/manufacturers want more attractive and interesting packaging and Environmentalists are doing a good job driving improvements to packaging. Big box stores are also pushing packaging changes that improve the end customer buying experience or drive higher sales. These are all changes that open the door for capital expenditures that take advantage of robotics’ capabilities for long-term cost savings opportunities.
And of course, the acute labor shortages we hear about is real. I’m not talking about within a geographic region, I’m talking nationally. Nearly every customer I talk with is having trouble getting and keeping workers willing and able to do work that robots can do. I don’t know if it’s because our customers can’t pay wages that workers are demanding, or if fewer of today’s available workers in North America are willing to do the boring, repetitive work found in factories. Automation seems to be the answer to the labor shortages that manufacturers and logistics providers are looking for to keep their processes running.
What are some of the top applications where adding robotics are super beneficial?
Many manufacturers and logistics providers want to take full advantage of the talented employees they have so they want to replace jobs that workers have less interest in or are physically demanding or mind numbing. Some examples of these include:
- case palletizing especially for heavy cases or tall pallets
- placing packages in order bins
- sorting products off of or onto a moving conveyor
- applying labels accurately on products, cases and pallet load