- Citing a desire to tell the stories of the robotics and automation industry, Jeff Burnstein, president of the Association for Advancing Automation testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee recently. The topic: "Disrupter Series: Advanced Robotics."
- Burnstein talked about advancements in manufacturing; robots that track supplies, robots that collaborate with people and robots that can pick up a tomato as easily as it can pick up a hammer, all without having to change the gripper.
- Robots are not job killers, according to Burnstein's testimony. He related the positive impact on robotics on the job market, saying when sales of robots rise, unemployment falls.
Supply chain managers can be a jaded bunch, as they won't typically overreact to a sky is falling scenario. They have worked behind the scenes long enough to know that any "breaking news" in the press is often considered to be "old news" in the industrial world. The subject of robotics is hot these days and the science fiction scenario of robots taking over the world, or perhaps just the industrial world, is unfounded. Robotic technology has been around for decades. Perhaps some are just finally taking notice.
Don't consider industrial robots to be like Rosie the robot in the Jetson's or C3PO of Star Wars fame. Think of the robotics as the articulated arms doing precision welding in auto plants, or the tools that assist surgeons performing intricate medical procedures, or even automatic drives that help operate precision machine tools. Robots taking over the world may make for a good story, even getting the attention of Congress. A more accurate story is how robotics continues to be an essential element of advanced manufacturing.