Table of contents:
- Automation is making progress - but not in all areas
- Investing in new industrial robots is not a sure-fire success
- Positive effects on employee qualifications
Video: Robots In Mechanical Engineering: Employees Remain A Key Success Factor
Robot technology is becoming increasingly important as digitalization progresses and Industry 4.0 expands. For German mechanical engineering, robots are not only in demand as export goods, their use in companies will also change the industry itself profoundly. From the point of view of the machine builders, the qualification of their own employees is an important success factor for the further expansion of human-machine cooperation. This is the result of the study "Robots in German Mechanical Engineering" by the auditing and consulting firm PwC.
Automation is making progress - but not in all areas
Over half of the German mechanical engineering companies (53%) already use robot technology in their companies. The main areas of application are in production and assembly (38%) and in particular in areas that require a high degree of skill and precision (34%), such as cutting or welding work. More than a third of the decision-makers surveyed want to further expand robot technology for precision work in the coming years. In contrast, only one in five fears negative consequences for the workforce. Only a small minority sees robots as an advantage when it comes to manual work.
"Only 4% of German mechanical engineers are convinced that they can fully automate manual work," explains Dr. Frank Schmidt, partner and head of industrial production at PwC. "Handmade by robots" will not be readable on German machines in the future either."
Investing in new industrial robots is not a sure-fire success
Despite a low level of fear of contact, almost a third of German machine builders are not planning to expand robot technology further. Of these, 16% cite too high acquisition costs as the reason for their reluctance. In contrast, more than half (58%) state that their company simply lacks the need to use robots.
"The fact that every sixth machine builder sees no further potential for the use of robots in his company is very worrying," says Dr. Gerhard Nowak, partner and mechanical engineering expert at Strategy &, part of the PwC network. "Because German mechanical engineering in particular must consistently push ahead with the digitization of value creation if it wants to defend its leadership in terms of know-how and productivity."
Positive effects on employee qualifications
More than three quarters of those surveyed believe that the introduction of intelligent robots will have a positive impact on the qualification level of employees. Around a quarter even consider employee qualifications to be an important prerequisite for the successful expansion of robotics in your own company. The companies also build on this the hope for efficiency increases (69%), quality improvements (68%) and gains in precision and production speed (63%). Only 6% of those surveyed forecast massive job cuts or relocations of production abroad.
"In the future, there will be no deserted production facilities in German mechanical engineering," said Frank Schmidt. "But in order for human-machine cooperation to succeed, companies must already invest heavily in the training and further education of their staff and in the next generation." (Jv)
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