"You have to educate, then automate, or you’ll evaporate," an exhibitor at CastExpo told a couple of editors today. The declaration comes close to a general consensus around the show floor. Industry leaders have been pushing automation for decades, but it’s been slow to enter the small, job shop metalcasting facilities, which make up the majority of the industry.
Maybe the tide is turning. Metalcasters are up against stiff challenges—increased raw material prices, impending climate change legislation, climbing energy prices, and global competition. They are on the lookout for solutions. More than a few exhibitors have mentioned to the editorial staff that the show-goers this year are moving through the floor with more purpose than in years past. They know what they want, they are more willing to lay down more capital now for a better return later, and they are open to solutions—like implementing robotics—that they would not have considered before.
If you haven’t already, take a cue from the hungry metalcasters pounding the carpet here in Atlanta. Pinpoint your challenges and actively seek out solutions. And don’t be shocked to find yourself considering automating a section of your facility you never dreamed of automating before.
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