Industrial production is changing. Digitalisation is often referred to as the Industrial Revolution 4.0, showing that the impacts of digitalisation on industry will be equal to the introduction of steam engines, electricity and microcircuits. Be that as it may, automated production will increase and bring about changes on all fronts. This development, naturally, raises concerns about jobs, for example.
In general, technology development has been positive to humankind. People living in areas with advanced technological development have longer life expectancy and improved well-being. We are resourceful creatures and we usually manage to solve problems that lie ahead – often by applying new technology. I think we should not fear change but embrace it as an opportunity to improve our well-being, quality of life, equality and the environment.
Our company, Blastman Robotics, has been developing automated blasting systems for years. Blasting is still the best way to pre-treat a metal surface before colour coating in many fields of the metalworking industry. Manual blasting is strenuous, dusty, noisy and poses a high risk of injury to workers. Companies face increasing difficulty in finding motivated employees for manual blasting. But who wants to do such a dangerous job if there are alternatives? Blasting is a model example of a task that, when automated, will bring significant benefits – not only as a solution for employee shortages but also in terms of improved efficiency and quality. In addition, automated blasting has positive environmental impacts, because the actual blasting process can be carried out in an energy-efficient manner, and because high-quality surface treatment will prolong the service life of the product.
We will see an increase in automated production in the future. Unmanned factories will be remotely controlled, production machinery will communicate with the company’s resource planning system and swiftly react to all changes in the order books, and robots can be easily and automatically programmed, just to give a few examples. We constantly find ways to do things better.
This poses a challenge to industrial enterprises. Succeeding in the face of fierce competition requires the deployment of new automation technologies, even in units that are not engaged in mass production. Digitalisation will be the key enabler. We must keep our eyes open to detect all new opportunities and react in order to ensure success. The new era of industrial production has arrived!
Perttu Junnila, CEO of Blastman Robotics Ltd