Pubblicato in: Devoluzione socialismo, Economia e Produzione Industriale, Stati Uniti

Usa. La piccola e media industria non usa la robotica. Un mito svanito.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2021-08-22.

Saker - Falconetto Sacro 007

La robotizzazione delle catene di produzione aveva suscitato grandi attese ed anche grandi apprensioni.

Ma di norma i sogni non si concretizzano in una qualche realtà, lasciando stupefatti ed angustiati gli incauti sognatori.

Significativo quanto è accaduto in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka. Inaugurata la prima fabbrica automatizzata. Crollo di un mito.

Pur avendo un pil ppa procapite di 13,113 Usd Int, lo Sri Lanka ha costruito una fabbrica quasi completamente automatizzata.

Questa realtà evidenzia bene quanto sia irrealistico il pensiero di molti che il sud est asiatico produca molto solo perché darebbe emolumenti da fame.

Il punto cardine, duro da comprendersi, è che gli investimenti, anche quelli nella robotica, rispettano in un mercato abbastanza libero il criterio di ottimizzare il rapporto benefici/costi, in una visione onnicomprensiva del problema.

Nella contabilità dei costi, quello del personale addestrato all’uso dei robot è una voce che incide molto. E spesso codesta tipologia di personale è quasi introvabile.

* * * * * * *

«The robot apocalypse is hard to find in America’s small and mid-sized factories»

«When researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology visited Rich Gent’s machine shop, they were asked to find robots to see how automation was spreading to America’s small and medium-sized factories»

«In big factories — when you’re making the same thing over and over, day after day, robots make a whole lot of sense …. But not for us»

«Even as some analysts warn that robots are about to displace millions of blue-collar jobs in the US industrial sector, the reality of small tasks like Gent’s is very different»

«Of the 34 companies with 500 or fewer employees in Ohio, Massachusetts and Arizona that the MIT researchers visited in their project, only one had purchased a large number of robots in the past five years»

«At all the other Ohio plants he studied, he found only one robot he had bought in the past five years»

«We had a roboticist on our research team, as we expected to find robots»

«Most of the machines we saw were from before the 1990s»

«Most had also purchased other types of advanced machinery – such as computer-guided cutting machines and inspection systems. But not robots»

«This is bad news for the US economy»

«Automation is a key to increasing productivity, which keeps US operations competitive»

«Yet small and medium-sized manufacturers remain the backbone of American industry, often at large manufacturers churning out the parts needed to keep assembly lines running»

«These small and medium-sized manufacturers are also a major source of relatively good jobs – accounting for 43% of all manufacturing workers»

«→→ One obstacle for small companies is finding the skilled workers needed to operate the robot ←←»

* * * * * * *

La temuta, e bramata, apocalisse indotta dalla robotica non alberga nella piccola e media industria americana.

I ricercatori del Massachusetts Institute of Technology ne sono rimasti stupiti e sconvolti.

Evidentemente non si erano presi cura di analizzare i dati disponibili, prima di lanciare questa ricerca.

Poniamoci allora una domanda.

Se l’industria che assorbe il 43% della manopera totale necessiterebbe di “skilled workers”, quale senso avrebbe favorire l’immigrazione incontrollata?

I sogni cozzano sempre con la dura realtà fattuale.

*


The robot apocalypse is hard to find in America’s small and mid-sized factories

Cleveland, Aug 2 (Businesshala) – When researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology visited Rich Gent’s machine shop, they were asked to find robots to see how automation was spreading to America’s small and medium-sized factories. was expected.

He didn’t.

“In big factories — when you’re making the same thing over and over, day after day, robots make a whole lot of sense,” said Gent, who along with his brother is a 55-year-old founded by his great-grandfather. The employee company runs the Gent Machine Company. , “But not for us.”

Even as some analysts warn that robots are about to displace millions of blue-collar jobs in the US industrial sector, the reality of small tasks like Gent’s is very different.

Of the 34 companies with 500 or fewer employees in Ohio, Massachusetts and Arizona that the MIT researchers visited in their project, only one had purchased a large number of robots in the past five years—and that was an Ohio company acquired by a had gone. Japanese multinational company that invested money for new automation.

At all the other Ohio plants he studied, he found only one robot he had bought in the past five years. In Massachusetts he found one company that had bought two, while in Arizona he found three companies that had added a handful.

Anna Waldman-Brown, a PhD student working on the report with MIT professor Suzanne Berger, said she was “surprised” by the lack of machines.

“We had a roboticist on our research team, as we expected to find robots,” she said. Instead, at one company, she said, managers showed her a computer they had recently installed in a corner of the factory – which allowed workers to note down their daily production figures on a spreadsheet, rather than To write that information in a paper notebook.

“Most of the machines we saw were from before the 1990s,” he said, adding that many installed new computer controllers to upgrade older machines—a common practice in these tight-lipped operations. Most had also purchased other types of advanced machinery – such as computer-guided cutting machines and inspection systems. But not robots.

Robots are just one type of factory automation, which encompasses a wide range of machines used to move and manufacture goods, including conveyor belts and labeling machines.

Nick Pinkston, CEO of Volition, a San Francisco company that makes software used by robotics engineers to automate factories, said smaller companies lack the cash to take risks on new robots. “They think of the capital payment period as three months, or six – and it all depends on the contract” with the consumer who is ordering the parts to be made by machine.

This is bad news for the US economy. Automation is a key to increasing productivity, which keeps US operations competitive. Since 2005, US labor productivity has grown at an average annual rate of just 1.3% – down from the post-World War II trend of more than 2% – and the average has fallen even more since 2010.

Researchers have found that larger firms are on average more productive and pay higher wages than their smaller counterparts, a deviation that is at least attributed to the industry giants’ ability to invest heavily in cutting-edge technologies.

Yet small and medium-sized manufacturers remain the backbone of American industry, often at large manufacturers churning out the parts needed to keep assembly lines running. If they lag behind in terms of technology, it can have an impact on the entire sector. These small and medium-sized manufacturers are also a major source of relatively good jobs – accounting for 43% of all manufacturing workers.

Robot’s Limits

One obstacle for small companies is finding the skilled workers needed to operate the robot. Ryan Kelly, head of a group promoting new technology to manufacturers inside the Association for Manufacturing Technology, said, “There is a lot of amazing software that is making robots easier to program and rearrange – but almost enough to do that job. The people are not.”

To be sure, robots are spreading to more corners of the industrial economy, not as quickly as MIT researchers and many others had hoped. Last year, for the first time, most robots ordered by companies in North America were not destined for automotive factories—a change partly attributed to the development of cheaper and more flexible machines. They are the type of machines that are especially needed in small tasks.

And it looks like some robots will take over more tasks as they become more capable and affordable. One example: their rapid proliferation in e-commerce warehouses in recent years.

Carmakers and other large companies still buy the majority of robots, said Jeff Bernstein, president of the Association for Advancing Automation, a trade group in Ann Arbor, Michigan. “But there is more than ever in small and medium-sized companies.”

Michael Tamasi, owner of AccuRounds in Avon, Massachusetts, is a small manufacturer that recently purchased a robot attached to a computer-controlled cutting machine.

“We are getting delivery of another machine in September – and hope to have a robotic arm attached to load and unload it.” But there are some tasks where the technology remains too rigid or simply not able to get the job done.

For example, Tamasi recently considered buying a robot to polish metal parts. But the complexity of the shape made it impossible. “And it was kind of slow,” he said. “When you think of robots, you think better, faster, cheaper – but it was the exact opposite.” And he still needed a worker to load and unload the machine.

For a company like Clevelands Gent, which makes parts for things like refrigerators, auto airbags and hydraulic pumps, the main barriers to getting robots are cost and uncertainty as to whether the investment will pay off, which in turn depends on plans and approach. . Customer.

And big customers can be fickle. Eight years ago, Gent signed a contract for Tesla Inc. (TSLA.O) to supply the fasteners used to hold battery packs together — and the electric-car maker soon became its biggest customer. But Gent never received assurances from Tesla that the business would continue long enough to justify buying robots that could be used to make fasteners.

“If we knew Tesla would last that long, we would certainly automate our assembly process,” said Gent, who said he looked at automating the line twice a year.

But he does not regret his caution. Earlier this year, Tesla informed Gent that it was pulling the business. “We are not bitter,” Gent said. “Just how it works.”

Gent spends heavily on new equipment relative to its small size — about $500,000 a year from 2011 to 2019. One purchase was a $1.6 million computer-controlled cutting machine that cut Tesla’s parts cycle time from 38 seconds to 7. Seconds – A huge gain in productivity that goes straight to Gent’s bottom line.

“We got another part to build on the machine,” Gent said.