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No mystery: Innovation remains a necessity

March 1, 2023
Why industry’s technology evolution should have no end in sight.

There’s nothing mysterious about the continual need for innovation. Inventions of many types have made life simpler, safer and sometimes just more fun for people throughout the ages. But where do the seeds of these life-changing ideas begin? The old-adage, “Necessity is the mother of invention” says it all, right?

Many great minds have driven that point home with their own takes on necessity and invention. Aristotle, Twain, Einstein all had their colloquial ways of verifying it. And speaking of mysteries, author Agatha Christie even weighed in, offering up a slightly different motive. “Invention, in my opinion, arises directly from idleness, possibly also from laziness—to save oneself trouble,” she wrote.

Modern manufacturers are certainly not lazy, but they wouldn’t mind saving themselves some trouble. Their necessity is two-fold: Productivity, for one, and safety, for another. And there's no mystery as to how those two needs will be satisfied—technology. Specifically, automation technology will continue to evolve to help ease the pains of plant processes and factory floors. It will also continue to help improve worker safety by removing much of the danger manual laborers face. It will have a “greater focus on flexibility, scalability, and process adaptability, becoming a tool to optimize efficiency through manufacturers’ ability to adapt to demands,” says Alan Duncan, senior industry strategy director at supply chain management company Blue Yonder.

Duncan’s thoughts on the need for continued technology innovation as well as those from Stewart Beer, site manager at enclosures and cable management manufacturer Electrix International, can be found in the article “Why manufacturing’s technology evolution must never end,” which can be found on ControlGlobal.com.

The article points out that the Association for Advancing Automation revealed data that showed Q1 of 2022 saw 11,595 robots sold. This provided a huge increase in percentage sold compared to both the previous quarter and the quarter with the best figures. Meanwhile, manufacturing output grew in the same timeframe, and industrial leaders are examining the data to analyze any correlation. .

Emphasis on using automation to eliminate higher risks has been made within the industry, the article points out. “Some processes are naturally more dangerous either due to the machinery or work involved, but if this can be reduced, it can help save lives,” Beer, the article’s author, points out.

One mystery solved: industry will always need new technology innovation to keep up with productivity and safety demands.  

About the Author

Len Vermillion | Editor in Chief

Len Vermillion is editor-in-chief of Control. 

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