Debating the politics of automation

Louise Smyth

Toshiba machine partner and robot distributor, TM Robotics, has released a white paper that examines the political challenges facing today’s manufacturing industry. Tackling issues such as the threat robots pose to jobs, robot taxation and investments in Industry 4.0, the company discusses the politics of automation from a robot manufacturers perspective.

Discussions and debates about robotics, automation and industrial are no longer confined to within the factory walls. In January 2018, the World Economic Forum (WEF) released its first ‘Readiness for the Future of Production Report’. It outlines how well-positioned economies are to benefit from Industry 4.0. However, much of the news generated since its release has focused on job losses caused by automation, rather than its potential.
 
In the white paper, TM Robotics examines some of the industry and government initiatives that have been put in place to dispel this common misconception. This includes Britain’s Made Smarter review, which estimates that a greater uptake of industrial technologies could create 175,000 new jobs in the next decade, thanks to a 25% productivity boost in the sector.
 
Robot taxation is also debated, with TM Robotics arguing that an introduction of tax to automation and robotics could slow down the machine economy and lead to a productivity disaster.
 
The white paper also offers advice to manufacturers that are considering investing in automation and robotics. According to TM Robotics’ Global Robotics Report, 55% of distributors stated that the dawn of the so-called fourth industrial revolution is influencing how customers choose industrial robots. The white paper provides practical advice on how to intelligently invest in automation.
 
“There’s no denying that investments in automation can reap incredible rewards, but it is vital that manufacturers are investing in the right kind of technology, not just the shiniest new toy at the trade show,” explained Nigel Smith, founder and CEO of TM Robotics. “Often, manufacturers overthrow existing systems with the delusion it lacks the functions required for smart manufacturing. However, a complete system overhaul is not always necessary.
 
“The white paper provides a no-nonsense viewpoint on the robotics and automation market — for manufacturers, industry leaders and members of the public.”

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