Workforce Development in the Era of Industry 4.0

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The fourth industrial revolution has begun and with it, comes changes to the way manufacturing work is done. New technology, such as collaborative robots, the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and machine learning, aims to make manufacturing safer, more efficient and faster than ever before. Real-time data collection and completely autonomous lines that can be managed from a tablet off the production floor have left companies and workers wondering where people fit into Industry 4.0.

New technology will still require human workers. According to Rebekah Kowalski, vice president of manufacturing at ManpowerGroup, companies that embrace new technology are growing, which leads to more jobs and different kinds of jobs. Certain jobs may become obsolete, but the demand for labor is too high for large numbers of manufacturing workers to find themselves unemployed.

Much of the new technology is designed to make jobs easier. Robots and cobots can take over tasks that may have been dangerous or harmful to workers. Vison systems and sensors can guarantee a higher level of quality and consistency than a person performing the same inspection tasks. With data analytics and connectivity, maintenance can be performed exactly when it is required, problems can be detected in real-time and waste can be minimized.

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