Solid Training Maximizes Robotics Investments

Solid Training Maximizes Robotics Investments

Sensors Insights by Joe Gemma

Everywhere you look, robots are on the rise. After topping 290,000 devices in 2016, global sales of industrial robots soared to 387,000 units just a year later. This 31 percent increase is indicative of growing production demands facing suppliers. In the southeast, for example, business is booming. Now home to just about every major automotive brand, the region is expected to become a hub for manufacturing and metalworking over the next decade.

But as demand spikes, so must supplier efficiency. To cut costs and ultimately boost production, suppliers are turning toward robots at record rates. Making the most of such innovations, however, isn’t as simple as it seems.

Intensive training programs – such as the one offered by KUKA Robotics and Greenville Tech Center – are crucial to getting plenty of bang for your buck. The hands-on automation education experience is set to provide employees with the knowledge needed to work alongside machines. Explore how clear and specific instruction can ensure robotics remains a worthwhile investment.


Fewer Delays

There’s no way around it – robots will take some getting used to. But instead of waiting months for workers to become comfortable around robot technology, speed up the adjustment process by devoting time toward training. The sooner employees familiarize themselves with a specific robot, the faster you’ll enjoy the benefits such technology brings to the table.

Employees need to learn how to work with robots.
Employees need to learn how to work with robots.

All too often, manufacturers expect workers to learn on the fly. While forgoing a week-long training session may seem like the more efficient route, such a plan typically leads to excessive delays on the backend. Say, for example, an employee has a question about one of your robots. Rather than asking a certified expert during training, the worker may be left wondering what to do if that issue ever pops up on the factory floor.

 Clear up any confusion by encouraging your staff to ask questions – regardless of how small they may seem. Doing so may reduce your odds of dealing with surprises once a robot is installed.


Lower Repair Costs

If you’re not careful, the price of repairs can start to soar. Sidestep hefty maintenance bills by teaching your staff the ins and outs of each robot. Workers who are accustomed to how a robot should operate stand a much better chance of spotting potential problems before they become serious.

From skipping a step in the production process to moving a little more slowly than usual, there are several signs that may indicate a robot needs repairs. But if a worker is unfamiliar with a robot or how it operates, those signs won’t do you much good.

Curb your repair costs through detailed training that touches upon every aspect of a robot’s routine function. Offering an in-depth look at what a robot is supposed to do as well as how certain tasks are accomplished can make it that much easier for an employee to notice when something is off. Leverage that extra insight to take care of an issue before it becomes costlier.


Increased Production

When it comes to making your manufacturing plant more profitable, employee engagement is key. Research from Gallup found that businesses with high levels of employee engagement enjoy 17 percent higher productivity, 20 percent more sales and 21 percent greater profitability than the average company. Wondering what you can do to reap such rewards? Bringing aboard robots is a good first step.

 By taking over repetitive tasks that often cause employees to lose interest, robots stand to raise engagement and subsequently drive business. If you’re only using robots to complete simple assignments, however, you may be missing out on a few extra benefits. In addition to handling mundane exercises, robots are adept at tackling more complex issues such as using data to make your production process more efficient.

Robots take on monotonous, redundant tasks that humans lose interest in.
Robots take on monotonous, redundant tasks that humans lose interest in.

Enroll your employees in robotics training to ensure they’re aware of what each machine can and can’t do. Learning about a robot’s capabilities and limits can go a long way toward making your manufacturing plant more productive. Without such training, it can be difficult – if not impossible – to maximize a robot’s impact. After all, employees will have no way of knowing how far they can push new technology.

Instead of setting aside simple tasks, get the most out of your investment by allowing each robot to tackle increasingly complicated problems. The more ways robots can help, the easier it will be for employees to contribute toward other areas of your company.

As business starts to pick up in new manufacturing hubs like the southeast, robotics training promises to take on greater importance than ever before. Manufacturers are looking to satisfy increased demand with a little help from robotics. Implementing a few new robots, however, isn’t all that’s needed to tap their potential. Take advantage of everything robots have to offer by training employees on how to work with them. From shortening the time, it takes for robots to make an impact to slashing the cost of repairs, robotics training promises to help you make the most of new technology.

It may take a while, but humans will work productively with their robot counterparts.
It may take a while, but humans will work productively with their robot counterparts.


About the author

Joe Gemma is the Chief Regional Officer at KUKA Robotics. His primary role is to oversee strategy and sales growth in North America, encouraging collaboration across teams and enhancing the customer experience with quality service, products and a committed professional team.

Joe has been at KUKA Robotics since 2014 and previously worked as the CEO at Staubli Corporation and EVP of sales and marketing at ATS. He earned his degree in business management from Rhode Island College.

In collaboration with the Greenville Tech Center, KUKA Robotics is bringing advanced robotics training to the southeast. As manufacturing industries – such as automotive and aerospace – continue to surge within the region, KUKA’s newfound partnership promises to satisfy an increasingly important need. Visit the Greenville Tech Center to see how the two organizations are working together to deliver top-of-the-line robotics training.