How to Close the Skills Gap in Your Manufacturing Robotics

Give your team the right skills!

Despite the abundance of articles claiming that robots will take our jobs, the rise of robots in manufacturing roles is nothing to fear. In fact, the use of robots is creating so many new jobs that employers are facing an ever-widening skills gap.

As this gap continues to grow, the demand for people who possess the proper skills will grow with it. Let’s take a look at how job seekers can develop these skills to leverage better-paying and higher-quality jobs.

Help your employees grow by making sure they possess the right skills.

Measuring manufacturing’s skills gap

Thanks to economic growth and increasing technology, the global manufacturing industry is on the rise. With this comes a race between major countries, with the U.S. and China both growing at exponential rates.

Germany and Japan follow closely on the Global Manufacturing Competitiveness Index. They are predicted to remain among the top five countries in 2020, with India replacing South Korea at fifth place.

With this competition, the United States and China are both increasing their production. This is creating massive investments in new technologies, with a special focus on robotics. Manufacturing CEOs have pointed to talent as the top driver of this competitiveness.

Yet the skills gap continues to grow. Six out of ten open positions remain unfilled due to an inability to locate skilled candidates. Technological advances drive the need for new skill sets in the workforce.

Create robotics expertise to close the gap

We are on the verge of a new industrial revolution, and collaborative robots will play a major role. The future is pointing toward a hybridization of jobs, requiring both human and robotic workers.

Manufacturers can meet this opportunity head on by investing in robotics. When you use collaborative robots, or cobots, in basic roles, workers are then free to work in more valuable positions.

Why struggle to find skilled candidates when cobots can save you time and money on the simple tasks, allowing you to train your own workers for more advanced roles? You can close the skills gap and increase your in-house robotics expertise by using the talents of your current employees.

One example of potential savings comes from Assa Abloy Romania, a manufacturing company that tried a Universal Robots model for a month with positive results. They used Robotiq’s own Adaptive Gripper and Wrist Camera to adapt their robot to a variety of parts. They taught new parts to the camera and switched them as needed to meet production requirements.

Moving forward, AA Romania used a robotic solution for a welding assembly. Although the cobot started out on par with workers, the company soon leveraged its easy-to-use programming to reach a 20-second cycle time. The cobot successfully simplified its task and boosted productivity by 20 percent.

Adrian Iosif, a mechanical design engineer at the company, recounts the changes for workers as a result. “We have lots of opportunities in this factory, because it’s a big plant and most of the work is done manually,” he says. “The robots help us move our colleagues to the empty places that we have here in the factory.”

Final thoughts

While the issues surrounding it are complex, the skills gap present in modern manufacturing does have at least one solution. Introducing cobots to your plant can give you the savings to invest in your own workers. As operators program their robotic partners to take over basic tasks, you can grow you in-house expertise, along with your efficiency.