A new type of worker is being introduced in factories across the United States: small collaborative robots. These machines can increase a factory’s production output while simultaneously lowering production costs. Less costly than more bulky and complex machines, collaborative robots are most often being employed by small factories and are fundamentally changing the way these companies operate.
Robots are certainly not new to the manufacturing industry, but, due to safety concerns, most have had to be kept separate from human employees. The term “collaborative” robot is used because these machines are now able to work safely directly alongside their human counterparts.
An example of an early player succeeding in this emerging market is Lampin Corporation, a precision machining and critical component manufacturing company located in Uxbridge, MA. Among other components, Lampin machines precision parts for the HV-100 (The “Harvey”) built by Harvest Automation, a material handling company headquartered in North Billerica, MA. Lampin manufactures the gearboxes that enable The Harvey’s arms to move, a critically important component for a robot that is designed to lift and move flower pots.
Lampin’s President Bill DiBenedetto said “In addition to our right angle gear drives, our company produces shafts, pulleys, gears, bushings, housings and other components used in robotic manufacturing; and our employee-owners are excited to participate in this new and growing market.”
While some may be concerned about robots reducing the number of available jobs, in cases like that of Lampin Corporation, these robots are clearly creating a job market.