Automation and robotics are fast becoming critical in today’s manufacturing, especially as the industry is going through its fourth revolution. However, their importance has never been clearer than with the COVID outbreak. There are now many benefits to investing in automation, with the main one being that it helps manufacturers to grow and thrive even during the current climate.

airedale springs factory floor

Take a look below at how automation can help your business too, including post-COVID.

Automation Helps Implement Safer Environments

Many factories and manufacturing plants were already investing in robotics and automated processes even before the pandemic started, but now it’s clear that automation can help create safer environments.

With social distancing still in place, as well as health and safety guidelines that workplaces have to follow, machines can help to keep people apart without businesses having to invest in bigger facilities.

By adding automation and robotics to the facility, you reduce the amount of people needed to perform certain tasks. The fewer people on the floor, the safer the workplace becomes, since they’re not working in close quarters.

Additionally, robots are also being used to disinfect workplaces around the world, from offices to hospitals and factories. Because of the nature of the coronavirus, airflow is an important consideration for companies. Therefore, robots can replace humans when it comes to deep cleaning areas that may be infected or even as part of everyday tasks in manufacturing plants.

Some robots release a mist of disinfectant designed to kill the virus, like the Breezy One, while others, such as the UVD robots, use UV light to disinfect spaces. Demand for these robots is rising, as they help people to stay safe by both replacing cleaners and keeping workplaces free of the virus.

Automation Boosts Productivity

The bottom line of a business is always crucial, but during the pandemic, profitability has become even more important. The UK manufacturing industry has been heavily affected by COVID and lockdown measures, but automation can certainly help it grow.

Automation can help factories become more efficient without the need to compromise safety and can give a boost to businesses that can’t afford to hire more staff currently. Robotics support human workers and, by automating certain tasks, from repetitive to dangerous ones, businesses become more productive.

A PwC study (PDF) shows that automation can have an impact on 30% of UK jobs by the early 2030s, with manufacturing among the sectors with greater share of jobs that could be automated (45%). Manufacturing companies who choose not to automate may fall behind their competitors, as they’ll be unable to keep up with global manufacturing.

airedale springs employee using machine

Automation Bridges the Skills Gap

Automation can also help with regard to the existing skills gap that manufacturing faces. A Deloitte study from 2018 showed that this gap is set to leave around 2.4 million positions unfilled between 2018 and 2028, something that can have a global economic impact of 2.5 trillion.

So, this is clearly not a new problem, although the pandemic appears to have complicated matters by making it more difficult to find skilled workers. Manufacturing businesses may struggle to fill positions or may be unable to hire more personnel – if this happens, then robotics and automated processes can help companies to stay competitive.

After all, it allows them to meet the changing needs and demands of industries like healthcare (which has required more medical equipment since the pandemic started) while still being able to innovate.

Automation Allows Businesses to Operate with Minimal Disruption

During the pandemic, businesses that invest in automation are seeing less disruption to their operations. Instead of having to send workers home or COVID-proof sections of their facilities (which takes time and money, not to mention how it can disrupt work), they can simply carry on, business as usual.

The products manufactured continue to be of the highest standard, since not a lot has to change for them. In order to abide by social distancing measures, manufacturing facilities need to provide a safe workspace for staff; a small number of humans working alongside machines, therefore, helps to ensure people’s wellbeing and safety.

Businesses who haven’t yet invested a lot in automation may want to consider doing so, not only because it can improve productivity but also because it can help them to survive and flourish in today’s climate.

Airedale Springs and Automation

At Airedale Springs, we use the latest, cutting-edge machinery to create our springs. We understand our clients have very specific requirements and we aim to meet them with CNC equipment capable of producing thousands of springs and wire forms per hour.

Our modern machinery includes coiling and wire-forming equipment from Wafios, HTC, DKPM and Adtech, all world-class brands known for quality and consistency.

You can see our equipment in action in the many videos on our website; an example is the video below, which shows you a Wafios machine producing a spring using a camera measuring system:

As spring manufacturers, we believe that automation is no longer just an option, but a necessity. Businesses who don’t invest in automated systems or robotics (or other elements of Industry 4.0) may find themselves redundant, especially with the manufacturing industry undergoing many changes at the moment.

With our high-tech equipment, we can manufacture the products you need for your projects, so get in touch with us today and we’ll be happy to discuss your requirements.