Thursday, July 2, 2015

The Cost of Improving Efficiency

Many of the readers of this group are involved in the sales of automation and machine guarding products. At times we all get wrapped up in setting goals, driving results and the business side of our work. But, I believe we have a higher calling. The things we do make the world a better place by improving efficiency, creating better and cheaper product for the consumer, eliminating tedious/back breaking labor and making the work place safer.

We are the very small percentage of the population that understands how dangerous an improperly controlled or unguarded robot can be. Further, we understand the technologies available to minimize accidents. We often encounter those who see robotics and machine guarding as a government sponsored nuisance without real value. Occasionally, we see maintenance technicians and engineers disable safety equipment to expedite their work.

It’s easy to lose heart and become calloused to the world around us. But, we have a mission greater than just making money. Recently, a young worker lost his life in an automotive facility. He happened to be working on a robot. The investigation isn’t finished. Nobody is claiming any negative intent. However, this young man is gone.  

Why am I writing this? Last weekend I returned to my hometown for a reunion with friends. One of the friends served as a mining safety expert. As we talked, he mentioned the improvements in equipment guards and it touched home; my grandfather was killed in an accident while operating a dooley-twin coal drill. My friend told me this would be impossible today. With a little luck, this kind of accident will be eliminated in the future.

And, in the interest of safety, be careful out there and enjoy your 4th of July.

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