The effect of automation in Manufacturing in the world
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  1. #1
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    Default The effect of automation in Manufacturing in the world

    This issue of automation effects many countries and since the US and Europe is a major participator in this then it effects U.S. and Europe manufacturing.
    The fact is that change is coming to us with automation.The detrimental effects of this are something to note and then to address for the good of the workers who may have lost their work due to automation.

    I think this is a important topic today as automation is happening everywhere.

    Please give your opinion and thoughts on this issue. I hope this will prove to be a good thread to discuss the realities of automation in our trade. Please feel free to give your opinion
    I appreciate anything which I can learn from in this discussion.

    Thanks,

    Spinit

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    There are two elements I had to address when automating a process.
    First, how many jobs would it eliminate...ROI.
    Second, is the proposed process even possible using hand work.

    In both cases the increases in productivity did not go to anyone except the ownership.

    I suggest everyone read Player Piano.
    At least in that work of fiction those displaced didn’t have to wonder how to feed their families.

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    We have a lot of automation in our ds/sc and equiax facilities. There are some wax pattern assemblies that are just better done by robot. We also use them for ceramic dipping, it's heavy work best suited to machines. That being said, 95% of wax pattern assembly is done by hand because it's the most efficient. There are some processes that may benefit from robot assembly but the ROI isn't there yet.

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    Thanks. Your experience is very enlightening.

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    The introduction of CNC cut the need for workers. This was a advancement in manufacturing. Automation is inevitable. Machinists will be displaced and subject to finding other work besides manufacturing. That is very upsetting because when you no longer have a job you get upset and mad because the promise of a profession is compromised because of advancements in automation and outsourcing.

    Everyone needs to live and survive while working.

    The automation trend is amazing and necessary. It will happen. So we need to see where we fit into the changing environment. I do not see all the answers yet I defer to the PM community for a good discussion of this trend.

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    This is why the political rhetoric about bringing back manufacturing is a fallacy. I have mentioned this book years ago, the situation is getting closer. https://ieet.org/archive/LIGHTSTUNNEL.PDF

    It is not just manufacturing and labor jobs that are being replaced. Professional tasks from medicine and, accounting to, engineering are major areas of development. In fact, all high pay skill fields are in the crosshairs. The old saying you buy machines once, you buy your staff weekly. AI and automation will change the way people live, the open question is, what will the masses do?

    Steve

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    When I started in this industry(Folding cartons)our printers would do about 6k sheets per hour.Our newest one does 17k sph,the other 2 do 14k.The pre press room had about 6 people using step & repeat machines to burn the plates.Now 3 people handle all 3 shifts.The plate developer is computer to plate and replaced all the s&r machines and two developers.

    The cutters would run 4k sph.The loads then had to be stripped manually with large air chisels and the scrap hand loaded into the scrap chutes about 12 people or more, hard work.
    All that is done automatically at up to 9k sph with one operator per machine.
    The dies required a skilled die maker.They were hand cut on an inverted jig saw, basically like a puzzle and the pieces were banded around the perimeter to hold them together.All the knife and rule was hand cut and fitted.
    Now all the boards are laser cut and most of the knife and rule is cut with a computer controlled bender fed by a magazine of coiled rule/knife.About a fourth of the labor required.

    The finishing/gluing is still using 100 year old methods although the machines are computer controlled ,modern drives and servos however not very much faster.

    Now for what I do(machining,fabricating,mechanical work)not much has changed in the last 100 years and unless they start making machines that never break down, don't think things will change. I doubt my job will be replaced by a robot any time soon.

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    i read your input into this discussion and yet I find it hard to relate to this issue as you present it. I am actually shocked by automation. What happens when the jobs are cut because there are no longer any need for the level of workers is disturbing to me. I know the future must make room for automation and I just do not know what the displaced workers will do to thrive.

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    Losing jobs because of automation has been happening since the year dot.
    Consider making a screw. Originally made by hand,then a dead bog basic lathe,turret lathe,cam auto and cold heading.
    How many men did it take to make a Model T Ford?how many to make a Ford Focus?
    This is just a couple of examples in engineering,it has, and is, happening in all industries.

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    automation cost money. robot part loaders are ok as long as cost to buy and setup and maintain is not more than having a person do the same job.
    .
    some jobs to measure a part you can use a probe to automate the measuring process. but if 1st thing you do is wipe part with nylon abrasive and then a cotton cloth and then use air and wipe surface with hand and or a stone while compressed air helps move dust..... just saying the simplest things are often the hardest to automate. sure you can program a rotating nylon bristle brush and then compressed air to clean. just saying it gets complicated. measuring equipment first thing a person does is wipe the ends clean. how does robot do that ?
    .
    and of course machine malfunctions which are often hydraulic, pneumatic, mechanical, electronic problems often a human can see a familiar problem and wiggle or bang on something stuck and its working again. robots require perfectly maintained machines with predictable problems. random problems are hard to predict
    .
    once saw factory install 6 story tall machines and there was a warehouse still next door being unused. warehouse was demolished cause of taxes and maintenance costs not cause robotic warehouse wouldnt work. it was just found to be more expensive than originally predicted.
    .
    total cost to buy setup maintain machines is often higher than originally predicted. sure sometimes it really does save time and money to be worth it. but not always.

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    Automation, has, as mentioned above, been going on for centuries, if not millenia.
    But we have see a big increase in the rate of automation since about 1900.
    In the industries I know, automation means, by and large, better quality products with less man hours. Certainly, there have always been a relatively small amount of masters, in any craft. And, a large cohort of people who are Ok at what they do, but not excellent.
    When you needed 100 Bridgeports to make the parts, most of the individual 100 machinists were not masters- they were crank turners.
    And, now, when 5 kids can run 10 VMCs, including cutting material to blanks, clean up and packing for shipping, they are usually not master craftsmen either. And the 5 kids crank out more parts per month than the 100 bridgies.

    There used to be a lot of featherbedding in those huge, labor intensive factories. My dad's first day at a summer job at US Steel, the other guys showed him where you could hide from the supervisors, and how many hours a day you could get away with it. That was in about 1950, and there were 40,000 employees in that single steel mill. Now, the same mill has about 4000 employees, a lot of automation, and they make about double the tonnage per year.
    So, from many standpoints, automation is a good thing.
    Its not like they fired 36,000 guys- they were phased out over decades.

    I know that the better, more automated equipment I get in my shop, allows me to do more, better work, with fewer employees, but the ones I do have must be more skilled, and have to do much less drudge work.

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    as always companies compete with other companies. people compete with other people. you do not keep up and you get left behind. there is no job left cause if you do not modernize and improve, others will replace you.
    .
    not many spin cotton and make their own cloth. if they make a shirt and want to charge $1000. for hand spun cloth shirt and you can buy a better shirt for $10. the person spinning cloth by hand will have no customers or far fewer.
    .
    you can dig coal out of a mine with 10,000 people or use big machines and 100 people will produce more coal than the 10,000 at a far cheaper per ton price.
    .
    not many hand making paper one page at a time trying to get $2. a page when you can buy machine made paper for $.02 per sheet. could go on and on about the basics
    .
    many many machines the price of produced product drops a lot with bigger machines. a machine 200% bigger and produce 1/2 the price product. a machine 400% bigger can produce products at 1/10 the cost. those that dont get the bigger more automated machines cannot compete with the vastly cheaper products being made on the bigger more automated machines

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    I agree it has been going on a long time. CNC is so much more fun than manual and safer also. AI will surely make a huge impact also.

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    those that learn modern technology are usually rewarded in higher pay. as a cnc operator i make with overtime and benefits about $90,000/yr
    .
    as a manual machinist it was rare for me to make over $60,000/yr. just saying modern technology using more automated equipment usually pays far more money. you need to learn and adapt and seek out the better paying jobs. it usually is not given to people they have to work and train and prove themselves for it.
    .
    its called going to night school (many many times) and applying for better jobs (many many times). if i did not change to new technology i would be far poorer instead of far richer.
    .
    in the old days a journeyman trades person journeyed or moved around to learn other newer better ways. if he stayed in same place his education and ability would be severely limited.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DMF_TomB View Post
    as always companies compete with other companies. people compete with other people. you do not keep up and you get left behind. there is no job left cause if you do not modernize and improve, others will replace you.
    .
    not many spin cotton and make their own cloth. if they make a shirt and want to charge $1000. for hand spun cloth shirt and you can buy a better shirt for $10. the person spinning cloth by hand will have no customers or far fewer.
    .
    you can dig coal out of a mine with 10,000 people or use big machines and 100 people will produce more coal than the 10,000 at a far cheaper per ton price.
    .
    not many hand making paper one page at a time trying to get $2. a page when you can buy machine made paper for $.02 per sheet. could go on and on about the basics
    .
    many many machines the price of produced product drops a lot with bigger machines. a machine 200% bigger and produce 1/2 the price product. a machine 400% bigger can produce products at 1/10 the cost. those that dont get the bigger more automated machines cannot compete with the vastly cheaper products being made on the bigger more automated machines
    Although in general you are right, you are not correct about hand spun and woven cloth- it usually goes for much more money than machine made yardage, and is a luxury item in demand. I have some Indian hand spun and woven shirts my wife bought me in India, and they are noticeably better than mass produced cotton fabric from some Bangladeshi sweat shop.

    Much the same way there is a smaller, but still in demand market for the highest quality of anything- the leather seats on Rolls Royces are still hand stitched, and they have no problem selling those for a whole lot more money than a Honda.
    The best machinists get jobs making the things that need to be perfect, and, even if they are running CNC machines, the additional time, and experience, costs more, but when you need titanium fans for jet engines, satellite parts, or custom medical implants, you hire the A team.

    Mass production is what is getting automated the most- tube socks, cigarette lighters, computer keyboards.
    Cheap stuff where perfection is not needed, just adequate quality and low price.

    The really good stuff is being made with modern, cnc machines, but not in a million parts a day.

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    The main theme of the book, "Forces of Production" is the affect of automation on the factory workforce from the 1950's to the 1980's.

    Tom

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    I was letting youtube run randomly yesterday, and up came a video of a fully mechanized chicken processing plant.
    The next video was a fully automated hog processing plant. They had machines that did absolutely everything. I was amazed at the intricate operations that they could have robots perform on a hog carcass.
    I was amazed at how you could have a machine set up to perform operations on something as randomly proportioned as an animal carcass. No measuring points on a porkbelly or a chicken wing, but they had machines that were snipping the ends off chicken wings and reaching in and gutting a hog... among 50 other processes per animal.
    That makes me anxious that my somewhat cushy job as a locomotive engineer is not safe. I can retire in a couple of years, and the railroad companies are steaming full speed ahead implementing automation to eliminate humans on a train going cross country, so I hope I get in under the wire.
    As it is, on some freight trains, as soon as your train is OK'd to depart the terminal, the onboard computer instructs you to set the throttle wide open and release the air brakes... and it takes over. The locomotive receives instructions from the company via satellite download.. it knows of any speed restrictions it may come across, the distance it is authorized to travel.. it knows where to stop... it knows the makeup of the particular train... loads and empties and how the weight is distributed in the train..it knows everything. The throttle may be wide open, but the engine modulates the power applied to the wheels and controls it's speed, all by itself.
    So far, it still needs us to blow the horn and to take over when the train has to stop. It runs the throttle, but not the braking system. They have programmed in every square inch of railroad property. The system knows the location of everything along the right of way.. road crossings, buildings, any structure at all.. it's in there. Why it doesn't blow the horn, too, I don't know.
    It happens every day... we used to be limited to about 7,500' long trains on our division... and some engineers had trouble getting over the line without breaking the train in two because of poor train handling. With this computer system running, they're running 13,000'+ trains from end to end and no break-in-twos.
    The bad part is, that is two trains in one, so they're getting two trains across the division with less manpower. Good for them, bad for us.

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    The Jaqard loom was the first serious disruption.
    The workers of the old looms would break the machines.
    They wore wooden shoes, sabot, thus sabotage.

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    How can anyone profit from Automation when they are not engineering and making these robots?

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    Printing technology is very fascinating to me also. I sure wish I had money to invest in things. Early on in this area I knew it would be very good investing in printer technology. Not so sure this automates anything yet Printing tech is able to do a lot of amazing things.


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