Manufacturing Outlook May 2022

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THE AUTOMATE SHOW: A PREVIEW LABOR AND LEARNING FROM A SHARK by Rob Britt Lack of labor is the problem addressed at the upcoming Automate Show. Since the total cost of a fork truck driver including benefits, training, vacation time averaged $40,000 before COVID, that price tag is up 50% to $60,000. That increase is almost impossible to absorb for manufacturing operations, warehouses, and distribution centers, operating two and three shifts. Operations Managers report the budget can rarely absorb increased wages, and human resource managers see significant challenges in replacing fork truck drivers.

Simple magnetic A to B AGV solutions solve the HR challenge and they work three shifts, without breaks, or health insurance. They are readily available and the fastest 2022 automation implementation solution.

When the Automate Show was colocated as part of ProMat, pre-COVID, it was the “cool and sexy” James Bond gadget part of the show. The Automate Show, in Detroit June 6 - 9, 2022 is the height of pragmatic reality, namely that automation is no longer optional.

Because there is such a shortage of fork truck drivers for the foreseeable future, automation has become an imperative. The only alternative is to automate with AGVs (automated guided vehicles) and AMR (automated mobile robots), bringing loads of finish goods (or sub-


assembly) from docks to warehouses and warehouse to docks. Until now, so many of the automated solutions were chock full of unneeded bells and whistles. While IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) and continued

Manufacturing Outlook / May 2022