The ever-evolving landscape of industrial automation is seeing a revolutionary partnership emerge—one that transcends the boundaries between man and machine. The fusion of robotics and human ingenuity is rewriting the narrative of productivity, efficiency, and innovation across industries.
As technology continues its relentless march forward, the combined potential of robots and humans is poised to reshape the very foundation of industrial automation, ushering in an era where the collaborative efforts of these two distinct entities hold the key to unlocking unprecedented possibilities.
From factory floors to research laboratories, this synergy is not just transforming processes; it is redefining the very essence of how we perceive work, creativity, and the role of technology in shaping our future. In this article of “Robots and Humans: Combined Potential to Change the Face of Industrial Automation,” we delve into the intricacies of this transformative partnership and how it promises to revolutionize industries, redefine job roles, and pave the way for a new era of human-machine collaboration.
Robots and Humans in Industry 5.0
Industry 5.0 marks a novel paradigm in production, emphasizing the symbiotic interaction between humans and machines. Preceded by Industry 4.0, which brought about automation technologies, the Internet of Things (IoT), and smart factories, Industry 5.0 propels the evolution further by capitalizing on the collaboration between highly advanced machinery and the distinctive creative potential of human beings. During the Industry 4.0 phase, the primary objective was to minimize human participation and prioritize process automation. Humans found themselves, to a certain extent, in competition with machines, often marginalized in various contexts. However, Industry 5.0 heralds a reversal of this trend, aspiring to strike a harmonious equilibrium that leverages the advantages derived from the interaction between machines and humans.
The transformations introduced by Industry 5.0 are irreversible and already underway. This trajectory empowers companies with the capabilities of increasingly sophisticated machinery alongside the expertise of well-trained professionals, fostering production that is efficient, sustainable, and secure.
Industry 5.0 transcends a mere trend; it embodies a fresh perspective on manufacturing with substantial productive, economic, and commercial ramifications. Consequently, enterprises that do not align their production processes with the Factory 5.0 model are poised to become obsolete, missing out on the competitive edge it offers. Furthermore, the rapid acceleration of technology underscores that new paradigms continually emerge. Hence, adapting each company’s processes and aligning them with the concept of digital industry becomes imperative to ensure organizational competitiveness remains intact.
Robots and Humans are the Future of Manufacturing
The idea of having a factory that runs completely automatically, without any workers, just using machines and maintenance, hasn’t worked out. A lot of things that happen in a factory need human creativity, learning, and the ability to adjust. Nowadays, products are more diverse and customized to local markets and what customers want, so it doesn’t make sense to fully automate everything. It costs a lot to set up a fully automated system for a complex product, and that cost can’t be covered before the product needs changes. A better option is to bring together the strengths of robots—like being very strong, accurate, and fast—with the clever thinking, judgment, and skills of human workers. This means that people can do tasks that need to change or be flexible, while the robots do tasks that need their strength and speed. When humans and robots work together in manufacturing, things get done more quickly, more efficiently, and at a lower cost.
In a study done by MIT, sheds light on the profound impact of human-robot collaboration. When humans collaborate with robots possessing a deep understanding of human interactions, the duration of idle time experiences a remarkable reduction of 85%. This study underscores the transformative potential of cohesive human-robot teamwork. By leveraging robots’ ability to comprehend and adapt to human cues, the synergy between these entities brings forth a significant enhancement in efficiency. Unlike scenarios where only humans are engaged, the integration of robots that comprehend human dynamics accelerates task execution and minimizes unproductive intervals.
Creating a New ‘Hybrid’ Human-Robot Workforce
Robots are becoming more involved in tasks that were traditionally done by human workers. But it does not mean that robots are replacing humans entirely. The World Economic Forum predicted in October 2020 that by 2025, robots could lead to the displacement of around 85 million jobs. However, they also anticipated the creation of about 97 million new jobs. This report strongly suggests that the idea of robots taking away jobs is not entirely accurate. Robots are enhancing the roles of humans in many ways. Instead of replacing humans, they’re making human jobs more valuable. By handling routine and repetitive tasks, as well as tackling risky activities, automation is allowing humans to focus on more complex and engaging tasks. This includes tasks like interacting with customers, innovating and improving products, and even overseeing the robots themselves.
In the ever-evolving landscape of industrial automation, the convergence of humans and robots marks a transformative partnership that transcends traditional boundaries. The fusion of human ingenuity and robotic precision is reshaping industries, rewriting the narratives of productivity, efficiency, and innovation. As technology charges ahead, the combined potential of humans and robots is poised to reshape the very foundation of industrial automation, unlocking a realm of unprecedented possibilities. As robots and humans coexist harmoniously, they are poised to enhance productivity, redefine roles, and chart a course toward a future where collaboration is the catalyst for innovation and progress.
Contributed by Mr. Manish Walia, Head of Automation, Delta Electronics India