The robotics industry is constantly changing and evolving. New robotics technologies and developments in automation are quickly creating exciting career opportunities at every education level – from micro-credentials to PhDs. Here is where you can learn more about robotics careers in manufacturing and how these new technologies are benefiting workers
At this moment, the world is experiencing a fourth industrial revolution of sorts. Traditional manufacturing and industrial processes are being upgraded with automation using smart technology like AI and robotics.
With this industrial overhaul comes the need to fill a lot of jobs, specifically in the world of robotics. While robots are increasing productivity and efficiency in every aspect of manufacturing, employees need to be educated, trained, and made ready to work with those robots.
Welcome to what a lot of people are calling “industry 4.0.” It’s an exciting time for the manufacturing industry, and an even more exciting time for people who have dreamed of working in robotics.
In a previous article, we examined the nature of the robotics technician’s role in manufacturing. While the technician is a foundational component of working in a hands-on role with robots on the production floor, there is a career in robotics that focuses on the process at a higher level - The robotics specialist.
If you’re somebody who finds yourself intrigued with how machines interact within a system, the robotics specialist might be a path for you.
Let’s take a closer look at what is expected of a robotics specialist, as well as the training and education required to become a robotics specialist.
Whereas a robotics technician is primarily maintaining the individual robots on the manufacturing floor, the robotics specialist is the expert on the manufacturing system as a whole.
That means the robotics specialist must understand how the various components of a manufacturing system interact with each other and work in tandem for the greatest output of productivity. If there is an area that should be redesigned to increase productivity and profitability, it’s up to the specialist to make that recommendation.
Because the robotics specialist’s job is larger in scope than that of a robotics technician's job, the specialist’s required skill set is also generally going to cover a lot more ground.
For instance, project management is core to the specialist’s job. They’ll have to be able to analyze process efficiency and point out problem areas and suggestions for improvement while keeping the end result (faster manufacturing processes) at the forefront of their targeted data.
To be able to improve a system based on an understanding of the fundamental interactions of the various machines, the specialist also needs to understand installation concepts. Along with that comes the necessary knowledge of how every machine on the manufacturing floor works as well as how the various sensors operate, how to troubleshoot the robot and system, and a deeper understanding of advanced robot programming.
Because any alterations to a robotics system will change the landscape in terms of risk of harm and overall safety, the specialist must be able to perform regular safety-risk assessments for the sake of worker protection and updating safety procedures. Quality Assurance also falls within the scope of the specialist’s job through regular system inspections.
On top of these expected competencies, the robotics specialist also needs to have a grasp on the basic soft skills that all advanced manufacturing jobs require, like communication, problem-solving, leadership, critical thinking, etc. One of the most important skills in this position is being able to communicate with the executive team regarding making changes to increase efficiency and productivity.
Just like with the robotics technician, the specialist role requires a lot of hands-on training. There are a lot of mechanically trained specialists in other industries who could certainly make the transition to a robotics career path through on-the-job training and practical education. Technicians can also hone their skills and work towards roles as specialists if they feel so inclined.
Due to the increased scope of the specialist’s role in the manufacturing workplace, however, it is generally recommended to have some post-high school academic education as well. Skills like project management for manufacturing and advanced computer and robot programming lend themselves well to various degree paths and higher educations.
You can find a more complete explanation of the skills needed for your chosen path to a career in advanced robotics for manufacturing here.