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INDUSTRY News


UK plans to fund new technologies in farming to tackle climate change





 


          


                      


      


   


  


                  


         


      


    ABB COLUMN SKILLS GAP? RECRUIT A ROBOT


While manufacturing remains a vital backbone of the UK economy, there are many challenges holding the sector back from reaching its full potential. Hurdles include a


declining productivity rate. In April, the Office for National Statistics deputy chief economist Richard Heys reported that it has taken us a decade to deliver just two per cent growth. Could this decline in productivity be linked to a growing


skills shortage? According to the South West Manufacturing Advisory Service, 54 per cent of UK SMEs are finding it more difficult to recruit skilled and motivated people compared to last year . Also, according to the International Federation of


Robotics, lots of our international competitors are accelerating their take-up of robots, making them more competitive and enabling them to respond more quickly and efficiently to changing customer needs. If we’re to keep up, then recruiting robots needs to be a


priority for UK manufacturers that want to stave off global competition. Recruiting a robot is not about replacing people. It’s


about augmenting your existing workforce and their skills base by equipping them with the technology they need to do things faster and more efficiently. There are many ways in which robots make this happen. Collaborative robots such as YuMi for example, are designed to work alongside humans, taking the repetitive tasks on so that skilled staff can utilise their unique capabilities to design and create and solve complex problems. Bringing robots into the fold is best executed when the


whole team understands that the robots are coming to fill the gaps which can’t otherwise be filled. Perhaps you can’t find the people with the right skills or there are dull, dirty, or dangerous tasks that your staff don’t want to do. We have plenty of examples to show the benefits that recruiting a robot can bring. A good one is Suffolk-based agricultural machinery manufacturer, Shelbourne Reynolds. By using an ABB FlexArc robotic cell to handle its more difficult and time-consuming welding tasks, the company has freed up its skilled manual workers to work on fast turnaround tasks and welds that are too large for the cell to handle. The next few years could be the decider for many UK SMEs struggling to compete on an international level. Recruiting a robot may not only help to counteract the skills gap but could also be the answer to achieving greater success on both a national and global scale. To find out more about recruiting robots, sign up for our Switch to Robots seminar this November: http://bit.ly/S2R2019





Nigel Platt LBL Manager UK and Ireland – ABB Robotics


automationmagazine.co.uk


Automation | October 2019 7


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