Are Robots the Future of Manufacturing?
In the field of information technology, there’s no denying that Google tends to become a giant at pretty much any arena they touch. What began as a search engine has become a massive company making operating systems for phones, computers, and branching into social media, and experimental fields like Google Glass. Now, though, Google may be having an effect on an entirely different industry: manufacturing.
Google has turned its attention to robotics, acquiring eight robotics companies last year, including Boston Dynamics, manufacturers of military-grade robots. Google has already announced plans for things like an Amazon Prime Air drone delivery system, which would see robotic drones delivering packages to Amazon Prime members in 30 minutes or less. Just like the pizza delivery guy, although you probably don’t need to tip the drone.
But Google’s interest in robotics may have farther-reaching consequences than speedier delivery. According to reports, Google has started working with Foxconn, the world’s largest electronics manufacturer, with the intention of developing new robotic manufacturing technologies that would make manufacturing processes faster, more cost-effective, and less labor-intensive.
Up ’til now, many manufacturing robots have been highly specialized and not very inter operable from one robot or one process to another. Google’s involvement may be a turning point in that trend. Analysts speculate that Google is planning to create a robotics operating system, similar to its Android operating system for mobile devices, one that could be used across multiple robotics systems, regardless of their intended function. This is borne out by the fact that Andy Rubin, one of the people behind the Android operating system, is now in charge of Google’s robotics department.
Regardless of what Google’s direct involvement is, a major shift in manufacturing robotics technology could have a profound impact on manufacturing in the United States. Between 2000 and 2009, the US economy lost 6 million manufacturing jobs, but many people, including President Obama, see the rise in robotics manufacturing as a way for the United States to reinvigorate its manufacturing heritage. As part of his State of the Union address, the President outlined a plan to create 6 high-tech manufacturing hubs, with plans to create even more down the road. Meanwhile, Foxconn has announced plans to construct a $40 million robot manufacturing facility in Pennsylvania, and many people believe that robotics is the future of manufacturing in America and beyond.
While a robotic manufacturing future may look pretty different from what’s come before, some things will never change. The demand for a quality finished product will always be there, no matter what form the manufacturing process takes, and that means that there will be a need for quality deburring machinery. As the technological needs of manufacturing change, the Cleveland Deburring Machine Company (CDMC) will be there to provide deburring solutions for any need. Many of our deburring machinery solutions already feature fanuc robot and auto-load components, so whatever the future holds, we’ll be ready to meet it.