Because automation can produce more with less, it can help domestic manufacturers compete with low-cost overseas labor. It’s certainly a valid premise. But, like golf, dancing, baking bread or cutting dovetails by hand, implementing automation is harder than it looks.
The hazards of supply chain gaps and the advantages of domestic manufacturing became painfully clear during the pandemic. Unprecedented pressures are compelling companies to innovate and reshore production back to the U.S. to mitigate global risk and augment resiliency.
In 1961, the first industrial robot was installed at a GM factory in Ewing Township, NJ, to lift hot pieces of metal from a die-casting machine. Today, the automotive industry has the largest number of robots working in factories around the world.
In the past 20 years, the global economy has suffered through many difficult events, such as pandemics, conflicts and natural disasters. For instance, the COVID-19 pandemic triggered one of the worst job crises since the Great Depression.
As any college football fan knows, the Southeastern Conference (SEC) takes sports seriously, with numerous gridiron rivalries. An engineering professor at the University of Tennessee has come up with a way to transfer some of that competitive spirit to the world of manufacturing.