A Big Year for Robotics

In 2014, the industry set new records for orders and shipments in North America.

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Graphic Tool is a mold manufacturer that automates more than just electrode production. Here, a robot feeds steel to a five-axis machining center. Automation was a big part of the shop’s journey from “mold maker to mold manufacturer,” which we covered last year

Fewer and fewer companies are behind the curve in terms of automation, at least according to the Robotic Industries Association (RIA) trade group. The organization recently reported that robotics orders and shipments both set new records in 2014. Read the full report.

Although the report isn’t broken down by industry, it shouldn’t have to be to convince mold manufacturers to take a hard look at automation, whether that means robotics, pallet changers or any other technology that frees employees from tedious, repetitive and time-consuming tasks. The writing has been on the wall for some time, and the benefits have been documented repeatedly in this very publication (here’s a recent example). Most of the shops I’ve visited during my time here have implemented form of automation, most commonly in electrode production. Those that haven’t usually tell me they’d like to, or even that plans are already in the works. 

Have you made any recent strides in automation? If so, I’m always on the lookout for a great lead. Send me an email.    

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