Rumors of automation’s impending global takeover have been greatly exaggerated. While we agree that this topic has gained increasing attention over the past half-decade, it’s essential to understand what automation is really all about. Automated packaging systems leader Packsize was among the first to adopt these technologies—especially in its X Series machines.
Packsize customers have realized that custom-designed boxes created in-house by an automated machine isn’t about replacing workers; it’s about enhancing their capabilities. For these reasons and more, we read with interest a recent article from the data company Thomas regarding what small to mid-sized companies stand to gain if they take on new tech.
Automation, according to Robotic Industries Association Vice President Bob Doyle, “not only creates jobs, but it creates higher paying positions.” The article goes on state this “investment in technology also helps companies become more efficient and subsequently hire more workers to keep up with growth.”
The first fears of automation came about during the Industrial Revolution. Today, these concerns mirror the way some feel about artificial intelligence (AI) and its yet-to-be-seen applications. While detractors of automation would argue that automation and AI combined could create oppressive forces that push humans out of the workplace, that’s simply not true. Again from the Thomas article: the “nature off work” changes and we realize “jobs that weren’t even conceivable 10 years ago.”
Realizing the ever-increasing advantages of packaging automation, Packsize developed its X Series of box-making machines to combine multiple automated functions into one. The X4®, for example, is capable of cutting, creasing, gluing, and labeling a box in 12 seconds. These options offer convenience, but the fact that the X4® boasts a small footprint that can be fit right next to your conveyor line in the distribution center puts automation right on the line. The X7™, which builds upon the successes of previous models, is integrated with PackNet® production software and can produce a packed and ready-to-ship box every three seconds.
As Thomas suggests, small and mid-sized companies that adopt technology such as automated box-making machines aren’t simultaneously creating fewer job opportunities for human workers. Rather, they are streamlining what was once a time-consuming, box-making process, reducing space-eating corrugated cardboard storage needs and designing containers that fit and protect items better. The latter improvement means that there’s less void to fill inside oversized boxes and a better-fitting box offers increased protection during transportation to the recipient.
In short, packaging automation converts lower-paying jobs into higher paying positions. Leave mundane tasks to robots, as humans can do the thinking, problem-solving, and strategic planning.