Kickstart: Adding robots during a workforce shortage


With the Democrats raising the cost of labor, and fewer Americans willing to work, the natural solution is to out-source the labor to robots. 

This article pretends that it is a short-term fix. It is not. 

Adding robots during a workforce shortage

The labor shortage is prompting more investments in automation, with companies buying equipment that can pick up the slack on shop floors.

At least that’s the take from Wittmann Battenfeld Inc., the U.S. branch of Austrian machinery maker Wittmann Battenfeld GmbH, as it set a new U.S. record for robot sales.

“Our robot and automation business in 2021 has just taken off,” Jason Long, national sales manager of robots and automation, said. “We are hearing more and more from our customers that they need to automate.”

Sonny Morneault, Wittmann Battenfeld’s vice president of sales, said one customer said a new automation cell will do the work of 11 people.

Of course there’s a hitch in robot purchasing plans. Wittmann Battenfeld, like everyone else, is hustling in the face of “significant” cost increases and supply delays for materials.

Robots on the beach

Robots, of course, do more than build things. They play basketball (or at least shoot baskets, as we’ve learned from the Tokyo Olympics). They dance (as Boston Dynamics has shown via a viral video).

And they also can help clean small plastic particles from beaches.

The BeBot was made by Poralu Marine, working with the environmental group 4ocean. Unlike human cleanup workers, who are great at collecting bottles and bags, the BeBot sifts through sand to remove far smaller plastic pieces.

The BeBot is going through testing now on beaches near 4ocean’s offices in Florida, but the group is planning on sending an additional robot to Hawaii.