Technology is changing rapidly and more manufacturers and industries are looking to automate as many processes as possible.
What does that mean for those in the Fluid Power and related industries?
A new report from McKinsey Global Research, Jobs Lost, jobs gained: Workforce transitions in a time of automation, reveals that while many low-skill jobs might disappear, around the same number of desirable, higher-paying positions will be created to maintain full employment.
As Ken Korane reports in his article for Fluid Power World, Automation will spur fluid-power job growth, professions that involve applying expertise, like mobile hydraulic service technicians, will generally see less automation.
However, investments in renewable energy and energy-efficiency technologies are on the rise. And spending on new technologies like IoT could increase substantially by 2030. All that plays into the wheelhouse of fluid power’s educated and skilled workforce, and could boost employment for makers of everything from O-rings to packaging machines and hydraulic excavators.
That means fluid power distributors should expand their product lines and services to include automation and motion control to stay competitive.
Emerging Trends in Automation
Automation Alley, a nonprofit technology and manufacturing business association with a global outlook and a regional focus on Michigan, talks about emerging trends in automation in their 2018 Technology in Industry Report.
The report is a good look in what's ahead in automation industry and features 100 pages of trends, challenges, opportunities and action items for industry, and is designed to help manufacturers keep pace with rapid technological changes in Michigan and beyond.
Michigan companies should take a look at the training & education resources that Automation Alley provides.
Little Known Tax Credit Can Help in Automation Investments
Distributors wanting to expand into automation have some government incentives. Did you know that the highly underutilized Research & Development (R&D) Tax Credit can help offset much of the development and implementation costs for automation systems and provide a source of capital for the acquisition of additional technical talent?
Greg Knarr in his article for IndustryWeek, How a Little-Known Tax Credit Can Pay Off Big in Automation Costs, shows how the changed verbiage now allows a much wider use of the tax credit and what activities qualify for the credit, such as:
- Designing custom automation machinery and robotics for both discrete and process manufacturing operations
- Controlling field and factory operations remotely using mobile instrumentation, virtualization and industrial wireless networks
- Implementation of automated systems such as PLC, HMI, Information Systems, motion/process control, robotics, RFID, and 3D laser scanning
Companies who supply industries like food processing, automotive, technology, logistics, agriculture and industrial equipment may be able to benefit from the R&D Tax Credit.
If you're thinking of incorporating automation in your arsenal of products and services, this tax credit may be a good opportunity to do so now.
Tribute, Inc. is a provider of ERP business management software for industrial distributors and system integrators in the fluid power, motion control and automation industry. For more information about our software, TrulinX, visit www.tribute.com