Across the U.S. industrial landscape, appendages are whirring like never before. But increasingly, it isn’t eyes, ears, hands, arms and legs that are doing the fabrication but networks of electronic sensors, robot “end effecters,” manipulator arms and electrically powered locomotion devices.
U.S. companies are trying to replace workers with machines at a record pace. Jolted by supply-chain difficulties, the labor squeeze and fast-rising employee compensation, more than ever are embracing the advantages versus the costs of “Industry 4.0” automation technology.
The case for automating in manufacturing is picking up as companies recognize they need to replace low-skill jobs if they’re ever going to make domestic manufacturing cost-competitive. At the same time, the automation wave is sweeping over services businesses too, ranging from restaurants to accounting firms, and is enveloping everything from frying tortilla chips to sorting out invoices to speed payments.
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