Manual Labor Getting Easier?
There was a time, back at the dawn of the Industrial Age, when machines and factory equipment were behemoth in size and bulky to operate. They often took up huge chunks of a room or large space on a warehouse floor, and if a machine broke down it could take hours, if not days, to find out where the piece of equipment was that made the entire unit stop operating.
Now, in an era where a robot arm can position a key piece of equipment on a machine, that past era sounds laughable.
The past century has seen a tremendous shift in the size of strength of machines and industrial equipment. Look at computers. Once the size of half a room, a whole lot of computing power is now packed into the size of a laptop or a tablet.
Machines have become safer in that they can be operated with the push of a button and stopped quickly with the push of an emergency button or the pull of a switch, features that may not have been present on older industrial systems. More industrial safety training is also offered, and personal protective gear such as goggles or front protection is now standard instead of optional.
Machines seem easier to use because more training is now offered for these products. In fact, there is college or tech school training to become what is known as a machinist, or CNC set-up operator for those that want lesser training and the ability to jump into the workforce quickly.
Because these machines are now smaller in size and stature, they are more efficient in that they do not use as much energy or electricity, and that helps to keep plant costs down.
The switch to computers to do more work, such as robot arms to install equipment instead of humans doing the same job, has helped make assembly lines more efficient and easier to sort out. Robot arms never get sick. Sure, they might break down from time to time, but they are always present on the floor and can be adjusted as needed.
Industrial products and industries are more self-regulated than in previous years, as machines now have more rules and safety precautions attached to them. A simple boiler feed is easier to do thanks to the presence of a feedwater pump that is separated from the electric motor by some sort of mechanical coupling. These pumps are often self-starting thanks to two sets of cylinders, and the mechanism to feed the water is often smaller than it was in the old days, when generating steam meant shoveling tons of coal into a machine.
If factory workers of yesterday could come back and see how things have changed in the intervening century, they might be surprised. Things have certainly become different in the manufacturing world.
Our ways of manufacturing have definitely changed, become more computerized. That has helped make things more efficient and money-saving for the future.