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Association for Advancing Automation A3

Quality Insider

60 Minutes’ Robotic ‘March of the Machines’ Criticized

A3 says the focus on how automation eliminates jobs couldn’t be more wrong

Published: Tuesday, January 15, 2013 - 10:41

The Association for Advancing Automation (A3), the global advocate for the automation industry, is disappointed in how 60 Minutes portrayed the industry in “March of the Machines” that aired Jan. 13, 2013.

“[Although] the 60 Minutes depiction of how technological advances in automation and robotics are revolutionizing the workplace was spot on, their focus on how implementation of these automation technologies eliminates jobs could not be more wrong,” says Jeff Burnstein, president of A3, a trade group representing some 650 companies from 32 countries involved in robotics, vision, and motion-control technologies. “We provided 60 Minutes producers several examples of innovative American companies that have used automation to become stronger global competitors, saving and creating more jobs while producing higher-quality and lower-cost products, rather than closing up shop or sending jobs overseas. They unfortunately chose not to include these companies in their segment. With respect to MIT Professors Brynjolfsson and McAfee, who gave their viewpoint in the [60 Minutes] piece, they are missing the bigger picture.”

To see the real story in action, A3 is urging people to attend Automate 2013, the industry’s premier trade show, which is being held Jan. 21–24, 2013, at McCormick Place in Chicago. Automate showcases the full spectrum of automation technologies and solutions that are being utilized in many different industries. Join the 8,000 attendees from around the world and register online for free admission to the show. Several Automate speakers will address how robots are saving and creating jobs, including Henrik Christensen, KUKA chair of robotics and Georgia Institute of Technology director of robotics, covering how robotics affect economic growth.

“To paint advances in technology as just taking jobs is very one-sided,” says Christensen. “Studies have shown that 1.3 better, higher-paying jobs are created in associated areas for every one job that may be insourced. In fact, the larger issue is companies are having trouble finding qualified employees to fill these high-tech job openings. We instead should focus on how best to educate our workforce in the United States so that we can remain the leader in automation technologies.”

Another highlight at Automate is a conference session led by company executives sharing their successes using automation technologies. The session features Drew Greenblatt, president and owner of Marlin Steel, and Matt Tyler, president and CEO of Vickers Engineering, who will discuss how they successfully implemented automation technologies instead of going out of business or sending manufacturing overseas. Today Martin Steel and Vickes Engineering are thriving businesses and have increased hiring with better, higher-paying jobs. Greenblatt and Tyler will also participate in the International Federation of Robotics (IFR) CEO roundtable discussion, “How Robots Create Jobs.” The results of a recent study conducted by the IFR on the effect of industrial robots on employment will also be discussed.

“Automation creates jobs in the United States,” says Greenblatt. “Marlin Steel is hiring people because our robots make us more productive, so we are price-competitive with China. Our quality is consistent and superior, and we ship much faster. Our mechanical engineers can design material handling baskets more creatively since we can make more precise parts. Our employees have gone 1,492 days without a safety incident because robots can do the more difficult jobs while our employees can focus on growing the business. American manufacturing’s embrace of robotics will ensure a new manufacturing renaissance in this country.”

“Roughly 90 percent of our automated cells are producing parts that were previously made offshore; the other 10 percent were also globally competitive, strictly due to automation,” says Tyler. “Automation has not only allowed us to bring more jobs back to the United States due to our ‘new’ cost structure, our profit margin has increased as well. This ultimately allows us to fund additional growth, which in turn creates more stateside jobs.”

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About The Author

Association for Advancing Automation A3’s picture

Association for Advancing Automation A3

The Association for Advancing Automation (A3) is the umbrella trade association for the Robotic Industries Association (RIA), the Automated Imaging Association (AIA), and the Motion Control Association (MCA). RIA, AIA, and MCA combined represent 650 automation manufacturers, component suppliers, system integrators, end users, research groups, and consulting firms worldwide that drive automation forward. For RIA information, visit Robotics Online. For AIA information, visit Vision Online. For MCA information, visit Motion Control Online. For A3 information, contact Bob Doyle, director of communication at bdoyle@A3automate.org.

Comments

company name differences

"Another highlight at Automate is a conference session led by company executives sharing their successes using automation technologies. The session features Drew Greenblatt, president and owner of Marlin Steel, and Matt Tyler, president and CEO of Vickers Engineering, who will discuss how they successfully implemented automation technologies instead of going out of business or sending manufacturing overseas. Today Martin Steel and Vickes Engineering are thriving businesses and have increased hiring with better, higher-paying jobs. Greenblatt and Tyler will also participate in the International Federation of Robotics (IFR) CEO roundtable discussion, “How Robots Create Jobs.” The results of a recent study conducted by the IFR on the effect of industrial robots on employment will also be discussed."

Do you mean Vickers or Vickes?  (Italics added to show differences.)