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Automation in the Future Still Requires Eyes on the Prize

by | Feb 24, 2016 | Packaging Tape

According to Business Insider, “experts predict robots will take over 30 percent of our jobs by 2025.”

I see it day in and day out when I visit industrial manufacturing facilities. There are those companies that still use a manual process. But they aren’t necessarily immune to automation. They may have automated case sealing functions, for example, but still use human labor to palletize, stretch wrap and rework cases – and in some cases manually packing content to send it through an automated case sealer.

Then there are those facilities that have streamlined processes through integrated automation. Oftentimes, those people who may have been on the line are now the people running the plant.

We’re just in the initial phases of automation being integrated across manufacturing facilities. I’ve seen the technology at Pack Expo. And I’ve seen the increase in robotics on the production line. So, is it true what the experts say – is this the coming of the second Machine Age?

And what does it mean for us as a tape manufacturer?

As someone who lives and breathes packaging tape, I have to ask myself: What happens in an automated environment if the tape fails?

If everything is automated and the packaging tape doesn’t work throughout the process, you’ve lost those efficiencies you’ve attempted to add. Something as simple as tape can offset the value of your entire investment.

Imagine a production line where cases aren’t being properly sealed. These weak seals pass over to the automated palletization area, where a tape failure occurs when the cartons are moved by robotic arms. Your products fall to the floor. Production stops. And now someone has to intervene, correct the issue and restart production. The costs add up…quickly. And it’s all because of a tape failure.

But tape isn’t necessarily to blame by itself. It’s a combination of the tape, how you’re applying it and what you’re applying it to.

But that’s another discussion…I’ll tackle those topics – and much more – soon.

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