By Bob Tita
The Wall Street Journal
May 29, 2022
Robots are turning up on more factory floors and assembly lines as companies struggle to hire enough workers to fill rising orders.
Orders for workplace robots in the U.S. increased by a record 40% during the first quarter compared with the same period in 2021, according to the Association for Advancing Automation, the robotics industry’s trade group. Robot orders, worth $1.6 billion, climbed 22% in 2021, following years of stagnant or declining order volumes, the group said.
Rising wages and worker shortages, compounded by increases in Covid-19-related absenteeism, are changing some manufacturers’ attitudes about robotics, executives said. “Before, you could throw people at a problem instead of finding a more elegant solution,” said Joe Montano, chief executive officer of Delphon Industries LLC, a maker of packaging for semiconductors, medical devices and aerospace components.