Minimum wage increases lead to more robotics and automation, says new report

Minimum wage increases lead to more investment in robotics and automation systems, according to a new study.

The report, People Versus Machines: The Impact of Minimum Wages on Automatable Jobs, analysed the US Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey data from 1980 to 2015.

The paper was published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, and authored by Grace Lordan and David Neumark.  Continue reading Minimum wage increases lead to more robotics and automation, says new report

Largest robotics and automation investment fund now has $1 billion in assets under management

ROBO, believed to be the first robotics and automation exchange traded fund, has reached a new milestone in terms of its assets under management.

Index provider ROBO Global, which has holdings in more than 100 listed companies, says investors have embraced its dedicated focus on robotics, automation and artificial intelligence.

The ROBO Global Robotics & Automation Index ETF recently surpassed $1 billion in assets under management, and its managers say it has achieved the psychologically significant benchmark less than four years after launching.  Continue reading Largest robotics and automation investment fund now has $1 billion in assets under management

DHL could stop Amazon from taking over the world. Probably

It’s not a glamorous business, logistics. Doesn’t make the mainstream news very often. And it’s not likely to be the top career choice for most people. 

It’s understandable. After all, how interesting can it be to move boxes from point A to point B?

Put like that, it’s not much to write home about. But now, with driverless vehicles everywhere, augmented reality glasses and exoskeletons for warehouse workers, and robotics and automation technologies of all kinds promising to transform the industry worldwide, logistics is about to get much more interesting.  Continue reading DHL could stop Amazon from taking over the world. Probably

Comau signs up new robotics and automation partners in Greece and Argentina

Comau has signed deals with two new partner companies in Greece and Argentina. 

In Greece, Comau has appointed the Nimac Group as its robotics distributor.

Nimac (pictured above) is located in Thessalonikki, and started the production of horizontal panel saws in 1977. It is now said to be one of the top manufacturers in the beam saws sector.

The newly created business line, Nimac Robotics, will bring the Comau’s robotics and automation products portfolio to the Greek market.  Continue reading Comau signs up new robotics and automation partners in Greece and Argentina

Interview: Leading robotics and automation fund manager planning to launch new investment vehicle

The news that investments in robotics and automation companies have out-performed all other investments on the stock market will only add to the allure of this sector. 

Fuelled by a renewed fascination and technological advancement in artificial intelligence, investors are enthusiastically looking for funds and companies in which to put their money.

There’s very few investments in life or in history that can offer get-rich-quick returns, but certainly a wise investor could make substantial returns if they are careful with their money.  Continue reading Interview: Leading robotics and automation fund manager planning to launch new investment vehicle

‘Trump’s trade war will trigger the biggest wave of automation in history’, says expert

US President Donald Trump’s trade policies will “trigger the biggest wave of automation in history”, according to an economics expert writing on Forbes.com

Trump has spoken out against a variety of international trade agreements to which the US had previously signed up to.

And since he became president, Trump has taken the US out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and is discussing how to also take it out of the North American Free Trade Agreement, or Nafta.  Continue reading ‘Trump’s trade war will trigger the biggest wave of automation in history’, says expert

Kiva Systems developers launch new company and their own logistics robot

Kiva Systems was a company that built a mobile robot for logistics operations, mainly for use in warehouses. It was a basically a small platform on wheels, and proved popular throughout the industry.

But then it got bought out by Amazon, which initially said it would still sell it to the rest of the logistics industry but actually didn’t. Instead it rebranded Kiva as Amazon Robotics and turned it into a business unit of its own.

The online retail giant now has one of the largest number of robots in operation of any company in the world.

But two former executives at Kiva Systems – Jerome Dubois and Rylan Hamilton – have now launched a new company and a range of new logistics automation solutions.  Continue reading Kiva Systems developers launch new company and their own logistics robot

Google grants almost $1 million to press agency developing robot journalists

The writer of this article is human, but soon you may be reading articles on this website which are written by robots or automation software. 

And who knows, some of the articles you read online may already be written by robots. Over the course of a longer period of time, you’ve almost certainly read something written by automation software.

Companies such as Automated Insights have been supplying thousands of articles a month to a variety of clients for a couple of years.  Continue reading Google grants almost $1 million to press agency developing robot journalists

Robotics and automation news is good for ABB, says CEO

Industrial giant ABB is reporting a 3 per cent growth in total orders across its operation, but most of it seems to be coming from robotics. 

Net income was $525 million – for the second quarter ending July 6. Gross profit, however, was down 5 per cent, and was only $1 billion. Total revenues were up 1 per cent at almost $8.5 billion.

ABB CEO Ulrich Spiesshofer says: “In Q2, ABB continued to build its growth momentum as our targeted initiatives are delivering. Order growth was broad-based and across all regions.

“Our industry-leading digital offering, ABB Ability, is taking off and starting to contribute to growth.

“Operational performance in the power grids and industrial automation divisions was solid in the quarter. Electrification products and robotics and motion improved margins sequentially, but were not able to fully compensate commodity price headwinds and overcapacity during the quarter.  Continue reading Robotics and automation news is good for ABB, says CEO

Manufacturing and construction driving growth in Vietnamese automation and control systems market, says report

Despite slowdowns in certain industries, Vietnam’s automation and control systems market is witnessing stable growth, according to a report by Frost & Sullivan.

Robust expansion in the manufacturing and construction sectors plus increased foreign direct investment, growing end-user need to optimize processes and improve efficiency, and development of special economic zones are factors fuelling growth.

Nonetheless, barriers to market entry are high. To succeed in a fiercely competitive ecosystem, automation vendors must embrace new technologies, such as Internet of Things, collaborate with developers of machine-to-machine technologies, and become one-stop integrated solution providers.  Continue reading Manufacturing and construction driving growth in Vietnamese automation and control systems market, says report

Higher wages and pressure to bring back manufacturing to the US could result in millions of job losses in clothes-making industry in Asia

A combination of higher wages in Asian countries and a trend for bringing back manufacturing to the US could dismantle large parts of Asian economies, many of which depend on the textiles and clothes manufacturing trades for huge portion of their national income. 

An interesting video report by the Financial Times points to this possible future, but adds that in practice, for now, “almost all of the world’s T-shirts and jeans by millions of cheap workers, mostly women, watching over sewing machines”.

And beyond T-shirts and jeans, the vast majority of jobs and tasks in the clothes manufacturing sector in general is still done by humans.  Continue reading Higher wages and pressure to bring back manufacturing to the US could result in millions of job losses in clothes-making industry in Asia

Half of American jobs at risk of automation, says new report

industrial robot painting

About half of all jobs in America could be replaced by robotics and automation systems, according to a news story on CNBC.com

And as pointed out by CNBC.com, approximately one in four American jobs are at risk of being shipped overseas, which puts three-quarters of all jobs in the US at risk of disappearing or at least changing.

The study the story was based on is How Vulnerable are American Communities to Automation, which was conducted by Ball State University’s Center for Business and Economic Research.

Rethink Robotics signs up nine new distribution partners in Europe and the US

rethink-robotics-baxter

Rethink Robotics has signed deals with nine distribution partners throughout the United States and Europe to extend the availability of its smart, collaborative robots.

With an extensive network throughout the world – including partners in the US, UK, Germany, France, Spain, China, Korea, Japan, Mexico and Australia – these distribution deals are part of Rethink’s efforts to meet growing demand across the globe, bringing flexible automation to the global manufacturing market.

With the launch of the Intera 5 software platform and ClickSmart family of gripper kits earlier this year, Rethink says it now offers a complete range of products and services to “help manufacturers around the world improve productivity“.  Continue reading Rethink Robotics signs up nine new distribution partners in Europe and the US

Hirotec on long journey towards lights-out manufacturing with robots from Otto and Yaskawa

“Lights-out manufacturing” is a term to mean the method of making things in a way that’s entirely automated and does not need humans to be involved in the process. 

Of course, humans initially set up the process, build the factory and so on, but the factory which outputs the final product only requires robotics and automation technology.

It’s an idea that has probably been explored in science fiction many times, but in reality, a fully automated factory that needs no human intervention at all is still a distant dream.  Continue reading Hirotec on long journey towards lights-out manufacturing with robots from Otto and Yaskawa

American workers sleepwalking into automated obscurity, says new report

robot replaces human
Picture courtesy of Challenge Magazine

Despite an endless stream of stories in the media warning of humanity’s impending irrelevance in an automated future, it seems American workers remain rather blasé about the prospect of being automated out of existence in the workplace. 

New research by Randstad US contradicts many reports that American workers fear losing their job due to automation.

The 2017 Randstad Employer Brand Research found that only 14 percent of US employees worry that automation will take their job away, and nearly one-third (30 per cent) say they think automation will make their job better.  Continue reading American workers sleepwalking into automated obscurity, says new report