In an interview with the main Finnish business magazine, Talouselämä, Omrons General Manager Tord Käck gives his insight to how robots will create jobs in the Scandinavia.
Robotics can restore Scandinavian jobs
In many scenarios, robotics represents a threat that will eliminate jobs – especially in the Western countries, where labour costs are high. In reality, however, the trend has been the opposite.
“If you look at the development span within a couple of decades, the manufacturing industry has moved many jobs to low labour-cost countries. Contrary to conventional beliefs, robotics has actually restored jobs in the western countries,” General Manager of Omron Nordic Tord Käck explains. “There are numerous examples in the Nordic region showing that investing in industrial automation and further into robotics solutions has made it possible to redeem jobs – or even bring jobs back to Europe. Local production has multiple advantages: organisational and quality control is easier, and R&D cycles are more effective,” he adds.
Traditional industrial robots were expensive and designed to perform a specific task in long production lines. Today, a growing number of companies look to robotics.
“Costs have been halved in two decades. Robotics is more straightforward to use and has more diverse applications. When a particular task is completed, the robots can easily be reprogrammed to do another job. The threshold for using robotics has been lowered in many areas.”
According to Mr Käck, leading European politicians have woken up to the fact that the vitality of the manufacturing industry is important.
“At the turn of the millennium, the attitude was different. But now Industry 4.0 is on the agenda of leading politicians. Investing in new technologies such as robotics helps to keep up with global development and to attract the best personnel."
Omron adds robotics expertise by acquisition
Omron, founded in Japan in 1933, provides solutions mainly for industrial automation, electronics and healthcare industries.
The group’s industrial automation branch accounted for 40 per cent of more than six billions in net sales. The company strengthened its robotics expertise by acquiring US-based Adept.
“In the past, we’ve focused on the major device manufacturers and trade through various distributors, but through this acquisition, newly gathered expertise allows us to offer better solutions directly to SMEs in the manufacturing industry.”
The Sysmac automation environment encapsulates Omron’s know-how in industrial automation, where robotics is now increasingly finding a place.
“It’s a very strong and unique platform in industrial automation. We’re not in this market alone, but we can offer the most versatile technology and solutions that enable companies to conduct their business in a profitable, effective manner,” Käck sums up.
”There are numerous examples in the Nordic region showing that investing in industrial automation and further into robotics solutions has made it possible to redeem jobs – or even bring jobs back to Europe.”
Robotics is on Europe’s political agenda, says Tord Käck.