Factories have been a staple in the United States since the Industrial Revolution. For decades now, men and women have worked alongside one another to produce everything from the buttons on your favorite shirt to your smartphone. However, with the global COVID-19 pandemic comes the need for social distancing, and that has had an impact on assembly. In fact, it’s driving the need for assembly automation in a way that has never existed before.
How COVID-19 Has Affected Workforce Sizes
According to guidelines from the CDC, social distancing is one of the most effective ways to stop the spread of COVID-19. Their guidelines recommend a distance of at least six feet between individuals both indoors and out, and they also recommend limiting the number of people gathered in a confined area. As a result of this, manufacturing facilities must keep their employees spaced six feet apart, and this is having a negative effect on production rates. In other words, many facilities are running with half or even a third of their typical workforce size and they are reducing their output rates significantly to accommodate the lack of resources.
Slower Production Means Slower Revenue
Manufacturing is a competitive industry, and the best way for a company of any size to enjoy success is to manufacture as many products as possible as quickly as possible without sacrificing quality. With reduced workforces, this is virtually impossible. Shortages of non-essential products exist at a global level because supply simply cannot meet demand. Worse still, slower production means slower revenue. Companies cannot turn a profit if they cannot produce, and this is causing major problems for even some of the globe’s biggest brands.
How Automation Comes into Play
Fortunately, we live in a time where technology advances at a spectacular rate. Many jobs that would have required hands-on contact just a few years ago can now be completely automated. The debate regarding automation versus human interaction is a heated one, too. Some companies focus on keeping as many people as possible gainfully employed; still others focus on finding the best and most efficient ways to produce as many items or parts as possible. With COVID-19 a major factor in 2020, manufacturers on both sides of the debate are looking for ways to ramp up production with only a fraction of their workforce. This is why automation is so important.
Automating Processes to Keep Up with Demand
Many of the processes that occur in factories and manufacturing facilities can be automated. In fact, assembly automation is more precise, more efficient, and faster than even a full workforce. These machines are capable of producing parts more quickly than humans, and they are designed to do it with minimal maintenance and downtime. These machines cannot get sick, and they do not require time off. For these reasons, many companies have started automating many of their assembly processes – and they are enjoying a great deal of success, too.
COVID-19 has resulted in economic hardship for not only everyday consumers, but also businesses due to social distancing requirements. However, assembly automation is the perfect solution, and many facilities find that automating at least some processes allows them to keep up with demand and continue turning a profit.