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automatica: ‘Robotics are opportunity to overcome shortage of skilled workers’

by Marco van der Hoeven

Around fifty percent of employees in Germany see robots as helping to address the shortage of skilled workers. A large majority consider the use of artificial intelligence software such as ChatGPT to be a useful aid in making decisions in the workplace in the future. These are results from the trend index of automatica 2023, which takes place from June 27 to 30 in Munich. For this, 1,000 employees in Germany were surveyed by a market research institute.

Almost every second respondent in Germany sees the use of robots as an important to very important way of countering the shortage of skilled workers in industry. 68% are in favor of robots supporting workers in such a way that older people can carry on working for longer.

84% think that having machines take on work that is hazardous or harmful to health will ease the pressure for skilled workers at work. 72% of employees also see the advantage of preventing industrial production from shifting abroad by using robotics.

When machines with digital technology are used at the workplace, control must always remain in human hands – 45% of those surveyed in Germany are firmly convinced of that. This result stands out in comparison with other countries: In Japan, for example, less than half (18%) call for such a hard line. In China (35%) and the U.S. (38%), demands for human control are likewise much lower than among employees in Germany.

This approach is in line with the ‘Good Work Charter’ of the European robot industry, which always places the focus on humans when it comes to automation with robotics. “Robotics and AI software like ChatGPT will shape the workplaces of the future. If we use these technologies properly, we can vastly improve working conditions,” says Patrick Schwarzkopf, CEO of the VDMA Robotics + Automation Association and member of the automatica Advisory Board. “At automatica 2023, you will experience the latest range of smart robotics and automation,” says Dr. Reinhard Pfeiffer, CEO of Messe München. “The trade fair brings together the world’s largest array of industrial and service robotics, assembly systems, industrial image processing systems and components.”

Smart robotics and automation as green tech drivers

According to 72% of employees, producing green tech products is also a major opportunity for Germany as an industrial location. Technology that helps save energy, reduce emissions, or achieve other sustainability goals makes factory jobs more attractive: 74% say that producing green tech gives work a special meaning. The majority of respondents – 82% – see the use of industrial robots as an opportunity to scale the production of green technologies through mass production. That includes, for example, solar panels, batteries for e-cars or environmentally-friendly heat pump heating systems Made in Germany, which will be produced cost-effectively on a large scale in the future using robotics and automation.

About the “automatica Trend Index 2023”

The automatica Trend Index was carried out by automatica, the leading trade fair for smart automation and robotics, with support from the market research institute TOLUNA. A representative survey of a total of 5,000 participants in five countries was carried out on how robots and digitalization are changing the working world: U.S. (N=1,000), China (N=1,000), Japan (N=1,000), UK (N=1,000), Germany (N=1,000).

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