Why UK manufacturers need to embrace robotics and automation

According to The Telegraph, the UK is lagging behind much of the industrialised world when it comes to embracing robots and automation in manufacturing. There are reportedly just 71 robots for every 10,000 manufacturing employees, whereas there are nearly 500 in South Korea, 300 in Germany, and almost 200 in Sweden and Denmark.

shutterstock_422528992This does, however, raise some concerns about how the UK is going to keep up, and why British companies aren’t already following other nations’ lead. Manufacturers should always be striving to work more efficiently — their work needs to be cost-effective and they must complete jobs as quickly as possible. Taking advantage of the latest technology is a huge part of this and, soon, UK companies could struggle to meet their customers’ expectations if they don’t embrace Robotic Process Automation. With these systems, businesses can increase the speed and precision with which they work, and we’ve benefitted from this hugely at Brushtec.

From the very beginning, we’ve made it a priority to invest in the newest and most efficient technology to remain competitive. This led us to automate parts of our production line and we’ve never looked back. Here are just some of the ways in which you can benefit from doing the same.

Your output is likely to increase

Unlike your human employees, robots can be left running all day, all night, and over weekends if required. This means that you can manufacture so many more products than you would be able to without the help of robots and automation.

You’ll also be able to accept more jobs, confident in the knowledge that you’ll be able to complete them on time. So, not only will you increase your output but, as a result, you’ll also increase your profits.

The quality and consistency of your products will improve

Robots work quickly and precisely, which means that you’ll get a high quality product each and every time. As well as this, you’ll also be able to predict how long your company will take to complete certain jobs. This is because you’ll be dealing with fewer variables, such as whether members of your workforce are tired, distracted, bored, or absent.

Your employees will have a better work life

Another benefit that we’ve particularly loved is the fact that you’re able to make the lives of your workforce a lot easier, and simultaneously reduce the risk of your staff members getting injured. The robots we use can carry out all of the heavy lifting that our staff used to do, which has made lengthy absences less likely, and created a more pleasant working environment for all of us.

Using robots may also be an attractive option for companies based in dusty, hot, or hazardous locations, where conditions can prevent their employees from working to the best of their ability.

Reduces waste and increases yield

As previously mentioned, embracing robots and automation in your manufacturing work will drastically increase your output, as well as the quality and consistency of your work. More products will be finished to the appropriate standard first time around, reducing the amount of raw materials that will be wasted.

Of course, like with anything, there are certainly some drawbacks to automation. For example, our workers must now be trained to a much higher level so we’re able to get the most out of the cutting edge technology we use. It can also take more time to switch between jobs than it used to, which means that our production runs need to be larger to compensate for the lengthy set-up period. This requires a more detailed level of formal planning than we would have previously done.

However, we feel that the advantages far outweigh the drawbacks, as we wouldn’t be able to carry out the volume of work we do otherwise. So, if you would like your company to increase its ability to meet demand too, you’re very likely to benefit from bringing robots and automation into the mix.

By Barry Crackett, product designer at Brushtec, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of brushes and brushware. The company has benefitted greatly from embracing robotics and automation — something they believe UK manufacturers need to do in order to survive.