Will Tradesmen Be Safe From the Rise of Automation?

by Relena Jane, guest columnist

Article exclusively written for Tradesmen Insights

The rise of machinery and automation has been a constant thorn in the side of engineers, machine operatives and even farmers for many years.

As far back as the 1700s workers were revolting against the onset of technology. English textile workers rallied against the development and implementation of new machinery. They were known as the Luddites, a term that became synonymous with people who opposed technological advances.

It might have taken a couple of centuries, but increased understanding of technology is leading to more automation and AI involvement in our working processes than ever before. Slowly, but surely, machines have taken over from human beings. Think about your supermarket experience and the self-service checkout, or booking cinema tickets using your computer, collecting them from a machine on arrival.

Source: Pexels

Nowadays, algorithms are being used to mark essays in certain parts of the world, something that seemed impossible a decade or two ago. People are being used less and less in all forms of business, customer service and engineering. Will our dependable tradesmen, the plumbers and joiners of this world, be safe from the rise of automation?

To answer we have to understand how quickly technology is advancing. Manufacturing is one industry that has been hugely affected. Operatives have become scarcer on production lines, even when dealing with intricate assembly and manufacture of parts such as computer chips. Soon enough, AI will start disrupting this industry for the better, making processes much more efficient and quicker. The complexity of circuit board parts to create new machinery will be no more, and will lead to completely eradicating the need for human intervention. Thus, some areas will always need reactive operatives, but in far fewer numbers than before. (more…)

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Automate and ProMat: One Badge, Two Shows

By Rachel Kerstetter, PR Architect, Sonnhalter

I had the opportunity to attend Automate and ProMat in Chicago on behalf of two Sonnhalter clients (one at each show). A single badge got attendees and exhibitors into both shows, and the combined efforts of the automation and materials handling groups provided for a great event that included keynote presentations from Renee Niemi (director of Android and Chrome Global Business, Google for Work), John Mackey (co-founder and CEO of Whole Foods) and Steve Wozniak (co-founder of Apple, founder, chairman and CEO of Wheels of Zeus).


Automate is North America’s broadest automation event. Put on by the Association for Advancing Automation and its trade associations (the Robotic Industries Association and the Motion Control Association), Automate showcased the full spectrum of automation technologies and solutions, ranging from traditional industrial applications to cutting-edge new technology.

Via @NookInd

Via @NookInd

My travel to the show was delayed by a Chicago snow storm, but the snow didn’t keep anyone away. The media at Automate were busy seeing what’s new in the industry. Our client, Nook Industries, exhibited linear motion solutions including mechanical solutions that can replace hydraulic options, as well as integrated automation systems.

Timed well with March Madness, at several booths, attendees could play basketball against robotic arms. The precision and technology in this part of automation definitely fascinates me … and not just because a robot made me a chocolate chip cookie!

Via robostox.com


Automate takes place every two years and dates back to 1977. End users, OEMs, machine builders, distributors, buyers, researchers and students attended the show coming from more than 30 countries.

Right across the hall at McCormick Place, was ProMat.


ProMat is the largest expo for manufacturing and supply chain professionals in North America, showcasing the latest material handling and logistics equipment and technologies. More than 800 exhibitors displayed material handling equipment and systems, packaging and shipping equipment, inventory management and controlling technologies, dock/warehouse equipment and supplies, and many more supply chain management solutions.

The ProMat hall was bustling every time I entered. Product demonstrations reached to great heights and lengths, and the show itself offered education and networking opportunities on top of nearly every supply chain and logistics solution in one place.

Our client, UniCarriers Americas, exhibited its reliable brands of forklifts which provide for more uptime, great value of ownership and are backed by a best-in-class warranty.

Via UniCarriers Americas on Facebook

Via UniCarriers Americas on Facebook

ProMat also takes place every two years and is powered by the Material Handling Institute.

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