Robot-ready: Adopting a new generation of industrial robots

Conditions are perfect for investment in industrial automation, but manufacturers need to be agile and swift in their decision-making and execution.

Industrial automation is racing up the maturity curve

While the growing ubiquity of robots is leaving many spellbound, for others it may feel less exciting, leaving them wondering if there’s a shorter-than-expected shelf-life attached to what they do for a living.

In the industrial space, robots are shedding their cages, where they have toiled for decades, now enlisted to collaborate shoulder-to-shoulder with their human co-workers. They’re working on dangerous and onerous industrial tasks, while also carrying out other tasks of great dexterity and precision such as soldering microchips. As robots take on more, and promise more—and as adoption costs continue to decline—a wealth of options for manufacturers are opening that did not exist even a few years ago.

A perfect storm of factors favor robot investment in 2018

While robots have been edging into human work at a rapid pace for some time, 2018 seems to present an inflection point on even wider adoption. A number of trends are begging the industrial sector to take a closer look at robot adoption, including greater pressures to customize products, rising global competitiveness and a tightening industrial labor force. Another trigger was the 2017 overhaul of the US tax code, which will likely free up cash for manufacturers that could be earmarked for automation technology.

Robot deployment strategies

Despite the excitement over the dawning age of robotics, some adoption programs fall very short of expectation—or fail outright. Here are six steps to automation that new and seasoned robotics adopters should consider before committing investments and time.

  1. Assess all costs (especially the hidden ones) to avoid surprises
  2. Streamline budget approval for swift robotics adoption
  3. Ensure you have a strong understanding of automation and how it works
  4. Identify what can be automated…and why
  5. Choose future-proofed tech
  6. Plan around safety/workforce issues

Contact us

Steve Pillsbury

Partner, PwC US

Tom Foth

Director, PwC US

Daniel L. Eckert

Managing Director, PwC US

Follow us