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Smart manufacturing technologies set to help with skill shortages

According to Rockwell Automation’s 2024 State of Smart Manufacturing Report (SoSM) manufacturers have shown an increase in robotic solutions to aid skill shortages.

The global study surveyed more than 1,500 manufacturers across 17 countries including 88 businesses in Australia and New Zealand.

Of the respondents from Australia and New Zealand, the SoSM Report revealed that 33 per cent of the companies are piloting robotics implementations with another 23 per cent at the planning stage.

A significant 40 per cent of the companies in Australia and New Zealand surveyed have already implemented robotics at scale.

According to Ai Group, Australian businesses are facing the tightest labour market since the 1970s and Rockwell Automation state the interest in robotics from manufacturers is not surprising.

The Australian Government’s latest Jobs and Skills Priority List reveals significant shortages of production engineers, software engineers, industrial engineers, mechanical engineers, and electrical engineers

Rockwell Automation report due to the lack of adequate human resources, a higher level of automation is the only way for the country’s manufacturers to keep plants operating while also planning for growth.

According to Rockwell Automation one of the key building blocks in the transition to greater automation is IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things), which enables connected devices on the network to transfer data without human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction.

In Australia and New Zealand, 30 per cent of the companies surveyed have already implemented IIoT at scale with 60 per cent piloting solutions or working on implementation plans.

“Smart manufacturing is complex and could entail high upfront costs, so manufacturers should develop a long-term strategy and work with credible experienced partners,” said Anthony Wong, regional director, South Pacific, Rockwell Automation.

“The benefits are significant as a smart factory can autonomously run entire production processes, maximising efficiency while reducing costs.”

Rockwell Automation revealed Australian manufacturers are turning to robots and more specifically, collaborative robots (cobots) which work alongside humans to perform intricate assembly processes or complex material handling tasks.

The SoSM Report notes that 34 per cent of Australia and New Zealand survey respondents have already invested in cobots with another 42 pe cent planning to invest in the next 12 months.

You can download the full Rockwell Automation State of Smart Manufacturing Report at Rockwell Automation.

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