THE ROBOTS ARE COMING, THE ROBOTS ARE COMING!!!
Indeed they are, but is that a bad thing? Advances in robotics, conveyers, photo eyes, coding software, metals, plastics, processors and most importantly imagination have birthed some incredible machines.
I am sure you have all heard of "Handle" the new robot unveiled by Boston Dynamics in February, 2017? If you haven't, check it out... it's a little creepy, but extraordinarily cool!
Some of the industries that have undoubtedly benefitted from these new robot helpers include distribution, manufacturing and packaging. During my 4+ years at McKesson (pharmaceutical wholesale/distribution), I encountered a wealth of automation. McKesson utilizes many technologies including AGV's (automated guided vehicles A.K.A. forklifts with brains), palletizing machines, automated pill dispensing units, hundreds of miles of smart conveyer and much, much more!
One of the things I always noticed is that regardless of the sophistication of the machine, there is currently no replacing human adaptability. Sophisticated machines require sophisticated mechanics and engineers. In the world of small business especially, automation helps increase the effectiveness of workers, but doesn't necessarily replace them. While advances in robotics and machinery will undoubtedly play a role in the landscape of our future workforce, I wouldn't get the pitchforks and torches out quite yet.
Many machines actually make doing a job much safer by reducing weight loads or assisting in awkward jobs (no more bending over repeatedly to shrink wrap a skid and hurting your back). Do a little research on ergonomics if you never have!
So without further ado, lets take a look at some of the toys displayed at this years PACK EXPO East 2017:
Let's see some of these babies in action!
(Forgive me for vertical filming, but these were big machines in tight spaces)
Shrink Wrap Machine:
Are you interested in these types of machines and automation? Consider checking a local brewery for tours. For example, the Anheuser Busch plant in St. Louis offers an incredible tour that shows these and many more incredible machines in action, all over a crisp beer or three (for those not driving of course).
Have any questions? Feel free to send me a message and I would be glad to share/discuss any part of my experience you may be curious about.