U.S. investors see more automation, not jobs, under Trump administration | Reuters

By David Randall

| NEW YORK

NEW YORK When U.S. President-elect Donald Trump criticized United Technologies Corp’s (UTX.N) Carrier unit in November for its plan to move some 800 jobs to Mexico, the parent-company made a swift decision to keep the factory in Indiana.

Yet, the move did not translate into saving jobs. Instead, the company decided it would move toward automation as a way to cut costs.

“We’re going to make up [the] $16 million investment in that factory in Indianapolis to automate, to drive the cost down so that we can continue to be competitive,” chief executive Greg Hayes said on CNBC last month. “What that ultimately means is there will be fewer jobs.”

Swapping robots and software for human labor has underpinned much of the productivity gains in the United States over the last 25 years. Now, with a greater political push to keep factories at home, investors are betting that automation will gain speed in industries ranging from auto manufacturing to chicken processing to craft beer breweries.

The big winners so far include Rockwell Automation Inc (ROK.N), General Electric Co (GE.N) and Cognex Corp (CGNX.O), which have seen jumps in fund ownership of 80 percent or more in the current quarter compared with the previous quarter, according to a Reuters analysis of Morningstar data.

The ROBO Global Robotics and Automation Index ETF is up 7.5 percent since Election Day, or about 15 percent more than the S&P 500 index, after underperforming the broad market for the majority of last year. Its largest holdings include cleaning products maker iRobot Corp (IRBT.O), Japanese factory automation company Fanuc Corp< 6954.T>, and drone aircraft company AeroVironment Inc (AVAV.O).

But the push toward automation could also cut into the number of jobs saved or created in the United States, undercutting Trump’s boast in a news conference last Wednesday that he would be “the greatest jobs producer that God ever created.”

CUTTING LABOR COSTS

Declining costs of technology are expected to accelerate the growth of robotic manufacturing. Some 80 percent of companies that plan to cut jobs in the next year expect to partially replace workers with automation, according to a survey of chief executives by PwC released Monday.

At the same time, developments in fields ranging from barcodes to digital measurement tools are allowing companies to hire fewer workers and reduce the time it takes to bring their products to the market.

Brian Smoluch, a fund manager at the Portland, Oregon-based Hood River Small-Cap Growth fund (HRSMX.O), has been buying shares of Digimarc Corp (DMRC.O) because of its so-called invisible barcodes that speed up scanning of packages.

“If it takes a nanosecond to scan something, it allows a retailer to have fewer people at a checkout counter and makes self-checkout an easier proposition,” he said. That said, the $300 million market cap company is a “high-risk, high-reward stock” because its success depends on companies adopting its technology over rivals.

Eric Marshall, a fund manager at Dallas-based Hodges Capital, has been buying shares of digital measurement company FARO Technologies Inc (FARO.O) and kitchen equipment maker Middleby Corp (MIDD.O).

Faro, for instance, creates three-dimensional measuring tools used in aerospace and automotive manufacturing. Shares of the company are up 18.8 percent since Election Day, triple the 6.3 percent gain in the broad S&P 500 index.

Middleby, meanwhile, recently introduced robots which can prepare French fries as quickly as a human line cook, saving labor costs and improving reliability. Shares are up 12.8 percent since Election Day.

“As labor costs go up you’re going to see more automated kitchens within fast-casual restaurants, and Middleby is one of the key innovators in that industry,” Marshall said.

MADE IN THE USA

Republicans are likely to push tax policies that provide incentives to manufacture goods in the United States, regardless how the work is done, analysts say.

The result could be that there are more goods made at home, without a significant reduction in the unemployment rate, which is currently at 4.7 percent as of December.

“There could be a manufacturing renaissance in this country, but most of the work will be done by automation, with current workers retained to do value-added functions,” said Nicholas Heymann, analyst at William Blair who covers General Electric and expects it to be a boon to the company’s automation business.

For a graphic on Automation focused ETF vs the S&P 500 click here

(Reporting by David Randall; editing by Diane Craft)

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-funds-automation-idUSKBN1530JW

Robot rescue: First-responders of the future

From nuclear disasters, to natural catastrophes and blazing hot fires, robots that can stand-in for humans in dangerous places are under development.

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts are working with one called Atlas, created by Boston Dynamics, a Waltham, Massachusetts based technology company. The robot is 6’2″ and weighs roughly 350 pounds. There are only seven like it in the world and MIT researchers are working to create the software needed to enable the robot to move.

“Because it’s hydraulically actuated, it’s very strong,” said Pat Marion, a robotics software engineer at MIT. “So it can lift very heavy objects and it can move very quickly with its legs when it’s walking.”

Their efforts are part of a government-sponsored contest called the DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) Robotics Challenge.

Prof. Seth Teller of MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL) says the aim is “to develop a robot that can walk into a dangerous place like Fukushima, which is inhospitable to human life, and actually do something useful there.”

Already, with minimal guidance, Atlas can walk, balance and pick things up– tasks that would be critical in debris clearing situations.

But what happens when the challenge is burning hot? At Virginia Tech, mechanical engineers are leading a team,

including researchers at UCLA and the University of Pennsylvania, to create a firefighting robot for the U.S. Navy,

one that will be protected with a resin shield to prevent heat and water damage.

The humanoid creation at Virginia Tech is part of the Shipboard Autonomous Firefighting Robot — or (SAFFiR) program.

It can balance on unstable surfaces- like a ship at sea- navigate tight quarters and using clues, like smoke, locate a fire.

“We’ve seen robots go from walking very slowly and not being able to balance well to being able to balance like on a ship and being able to navigate on a ship,” said Prof. Brian Lattimer, the director of the Extreme Environments, Robotics & Materials Laboratory (ExtReMe Lab) at Virginia Tech.

The robot will be tested later this year on the Navy’s fire test ship, the ex-U.S.S. Shadwell which is moored in Alabama.

The ultimate goal- to keep people out of harm’s way.

“We’re not only looking to use the technology for ships but for fires in buildings,” said Lattimer. “Our big push is to not be sending people into burning buildings and structures but to send robots into these harsh conditions.”

Teller believes many of the advancements only researchers are seeing in elite labs will soon be available to people in everyday life.

“The future of machines that are in our homes, in our work spaces, doing at least simple tasks for us is not that far away,” said Teller. “It’s no more than a couple of decades away. Now I know you’ve been hearing that for 50 years… this time we think it’s really fairly close.”

Molly Line joined Fox News Channel as a Boston-based correspondent in January 2006.

http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2014/06/10/robot-rescue-first-responders-future.html

U.S. investors see more automation, not jobs, under Trump administration | Reuters

By David Randall

| NEW YORK

NEW YORK When U.S. President-elect Donald Trump criticized United Technologies Corp’s (UTX.N) Carrier unit in November for its plan to move some 800 jobs to Mexico, the parent-company made a swift decision to keep the factory in Indiana.

Yet, the move did not translate into saving jobs. Instead, the company decided it would move toward automation as a way to cut costs.

“We’re going to make up [the] $16 million investment in that factory in Indianapolis to automate, to drive the cost down so that we can continue to be competitive,” chief executive Greg Hayes said on CNBC last month. “What that ultimately means is there will be fewer jobs.”

Swapping robots and software for human labor has underpinned much of the productivity gains in the United States over the last 25 years. Now, with a greater political push to keep factories at home, investors are betting that automation will gain speed in industries ranging from auto manufacturing to chicken processing to craft beer breweries.

The big winners so far include Rockwell Automation Inc (ROK.N), General Electric Co (GE.N) and Cognex Corp (CGNX.O), which have seen jumps in fund ownership of 80 percent or more in the current quarter compared with the previous quarter, according to a Reuters analysis of Morningstar data.

The ROBO Global Robotics and Automation Index ETF is up 7.5 percent since Election Day, or about 15 percent more than the S&P 500 index, after underperforming the broad market for the majority of last year. Its largest holdings include cleaning products maker iRobot Corp (IRBT.O), Japanese factory automation company Fanuc Corp< 6954.T>, and drone aircraft company AeroVironment Inc (AVAV.O).

But the push toward automation could also cut into the number of jobs saved or created in the United States, undercutting Trump’s boast in a news conference last Wednesday that he would be “the greatest jobs producer that God ever created.”

CUTTING LABOR COSTS

Declining costs of technology are expected to accelerate the growth of robotic manufacturing. Some 80 percent of companies that plan to cut jobs in the next year expect to partially replace workers with automation, according to a survey of chief executives by PwC released Monday.

At the same time, developments in fields ranging from barcodes to digital measurement tools are allowing companies to hire fewer workers and reduce the time it takes to bring their products to the market.

Brian Smoluch, a fund manager at the Portland, Oregon-based Hood River Small-Cap Growth fund (HRSMX.O), has been buying shares of Digimarc Corp (DMRC.O) because of its so-called invisible barcodes that speed up scanning of packages.

“If it takes a nanosecond to scan something, it allows a retailer to have fewer people at a checkout counter and makes self-checkout an easier proposition,” he said. That said, the $300 million market cap company is a “high-risk, high-reward stock” because its success depends on companies adopting its technology over rivals.

Eric Marshall, a fund manager at Dallas-based Hodges Capital, has been buying shares of digital measurement company FARO Technologies Inc (FARO.O) and kitchen equipment maker Middleby Corp (MIDD.O).

Faro, for instance, creates three-dimensional measuring tools used in aerospace and automotive manufacturing. Shares of the company are up 18.8 percent since Election Day, triple the 6.3 percent gain in the broad S&P 500 index.

Middleby, meanwhile, recently introduced robots which can prepare French fries as quickly as a human line cook, saving labor costs and improving reliability. Shares are up 12.8 percent since Election Day.

“As labor costs go up you’re going to see more automated kitchens within fast-casual restaurants, and Middleby is one of the key innovators in that industry,” Marshall said.

MADE IN THE USA

Republicans are likely to push tax policies that provide incentives to manufacture goods in the United States, regardless how the work is done, analysts say.

The result could be that there are more goods made at home, without a significant reduction in the unemployment rate, which is currently at 4.7 percent as of December.

“There could be a manufacturing renaissance in this country, but most of the work will be done by automation, with current workers retained to do value-added functions,” said Nicholas Heymann, analyst at William Blair who covers General Electric and expects it to be a boon to the company’s automation business.

For a graphic on Automation focused ETF vs the S&P 500 click here

(Reporting by David Randall; editing by Diane Craft)

http://uk.reuters.com/article/us-usa-funds-automation-idUKKBN1530JW

Huizenga Group chair gives nearly $6 million to Michigan employees

Employees at two Michigan factories are enjoying an unexpected windfall, sharing nearly $6 million in bonuses handed out as a surprise by their boss, reports CBS News correspondent Dean Reynolds.

“We probably have the best workforce in the nation right here in Western Michigan,” Huizenga Group’s J.C. Huizenga said.

The soft-spoken chairman has a big wallet, and a heart of gold.

“I’m a son of a garbage man, so, I can appreciate people for what they contribute,” he said.

Until last month, his company owned a pair of automation businesses in Western Michigan.

More than 575 employees design and build custom machines and systems for several industries and with annual sales of $170 million, it’s been a success.

“It is a team of people. I’ll take people over assets all day long,” Huizenga said.

Their products sell all over the world.

“It was very appropriate, when we sold the company, that the employees should participate in the wealth we created,” he said.

The profit-sharing checks were delivered in March and added up to $5.75 million. Most employees got checks ranging from $500 to $10,000.

“I felt, one of the nicest gestures of any owner that I’d ever known of,” Dane Systems business unit manager Al Bass said.

Some bonuses were over $50,000; the amounts were based on years of service and job duties.

“The identity of the company is to give, and he encourages us to do that in the latter, to take what we’ve been given and pass it on,” JR Automation buyer Curt Bosch said.

Dane Systems controller Bryan Vondorpowski has two kids in school.

“One’s in college. And this is just the right time. What a blessing to us,” he said.

The new owner wanted to keep the workforce in place, and all of the employees are staying put.

“The new owner was a little concerned that we didn’t make the bonuses too high, because they wanted to make sure that everybody showed up for work the next day,” Huizenga said.

They did.

“Our turnover here is incredibly low. You know, and nobody wants to leave,” JR Automation controller Tim Karsten said.

Huizenga said he shelled out millions because it was simply the right thing to do.

“The gratitude they showed was way beyond my expectation,” Huizenga said.

He said it makes him feel “amazingly good.”

“I would recommend it to anybody. It’s great to be a giver,” he said.

© 2015 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/huizenga-group-chair-gives-nearly-6-million-michigan-employees/

Elon Musk and Tesla Motors Announce Plan For Automated Driving

Elon Musk is no stranger to taking science fiction ideas and turning them into reality. He’s pioneered commercial space flight with SpaceX and has offered a possible means of high speed transportation with Hyperloop.

Now, he’s tasking his company Tesla Motors with another ambitious project: making its own automated car from scratch.

Musk said that 90 percent of the car’s controls would be left to its computer system, as reported by Reuters. “Fully autonomous cars would take longer to develop,” he said.

Karl Iagnemma, the director of the Robotic Mobility Group at MIT, said that Musk’s track record and engineering skill is a huge boon for the autonomous vehicle community. “It’s going to put increasing pressure on the field to move the technology forward,” he told ABC News.

Raj Rajkumar, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, said that Tesla Motors’ decision to not put all of a car’s controls in the hands of a computer is on trend with other car manufacturers. “Full automation is still quite some time off,” he said. “A human still needs to be in the loop and paying attention.”

While it’s difficult to get 100 percent of a car’s controls automated, Iagnemma said that splitting it between the driver and the car’s computer is not an insignificant bump in the road. “It may be very hard to ask a driver for assistance if the driver hasn’t been paying close attention the entire time,” he said. “One of the big questions in the field is how to handle this shared control between the vehicle and the human.”

Even if the Tesla has a road-ready product in three years, it’s not guaranteed that the public will welcome it with open arms. Sterling Anderson, the principal of Gimlet Systems and a colleague of Iagnemma’s, said there is some resistance to automated automobiles. “Surveys show that while many people are open to the idea of an autonomous vehicle driving them to work, far fewer are willing to let one drive their child to soccer practice,” he said.

But barring any legal barriers and consumer issues, Anderson thinks that Tesla Motors has what it takes to compete with other car manufacturers, as well as Google’s own self-driving car project. “Three years is an aggressive deadline,” he said, “But it’s completely doable.”

Google and Tesla Motors did not immediately respond to ABC News’ requests for comment.

Tesla Model S cars are known for being pricey, but Rajkumar said that while making software to dictate the car’s behavior is a big investment in research and development, it won’t be as big an investment for consumers.

“At the end of the day, software doesn’t cost anything,” he said. “The cost is in the sensors and actuators. I expect that around 2020, we will have a sensor suite and computer costing $5,000 to $7,000.”

http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/elon-musk-tesla-motors-announce-plan-automated-driving/story?id=20298616

Industrials Sector | Reuters.com

* TDC rises after report of possible Telia bid

(Adds quote and detail, updates prices at close)

TOULOUSE, Jan 20 A deal for Iran to buy 20

short-haul passenger aircraft from ATR should be signed

imminently, the head of the European planemaker told Reuters on

Friday.

SAO PAULO, Jan 20 Brazilian authorities on

Friday started their investigation into a small plane crash that

killed a Supreme Court justice who was overseeing the

investigation of a political kickback scheme, the largest ever

uncovered in the country.

TOULOUSE, Jan 20 The head of European planemaker

ATR said on Friday that talks over a deal with Iran to purchase

20 short-haul passenger aircrafts had finished and the deal was

imminent.

http://www.reuters.com/sectors/industrials

Automation is Coming: Stop Whining and Get Prepared

It seems not a day goes by that we don’t hear something about automation and new technologies that are going to replace human jobs. Perhaps it’s a large company like Google, Apple or Tesla working on a self-driving car; a company working on an implantable chip put into the human body to detect a serious disease years before it is even recognizable by modern medicine standards; or a no name guy who rises to fame with a new app that simplifies a difficult and tedious task. The reality is that automation is not some wild fantasy anymore that’s decades down the road. It’s already here and is going to dramatically change life as we know it.

With all the good that’s going to come with automation, we are suddenly faced with a new problem: the elimination of many middle class jobs. Dr. Michael A. Osborne from Oxford University’s Department of Engineering Science and Dr. Carl Benedikt Frey of the Oxford Martin School, estimate that 47 percent of jobs in the U.S. are “at risk” of being automated in the next 20 years. They say jobs that have already been severely impacted by computers (manufacturing, administrative support, retail, and transportation) will continue to diminish. Furthermore, they believe routine-based jobs (telemarketing, sewing) and work that can be solved by smart algorithms (tax preparation, data entry keyers and insurance underwriters) are most likely to be eliminated.

If you think income disparity is a problem in the United States now, watch what happens when many middle class jobs start disappearing. Is some form of socialism or equal sharing going to solve it? No chance. What about raising the tax rate to 90 percent or more? That might work if you were talking about subsidizing the poor, but it will never be enough to support America’s middle and upper class, people with solid paying jobs who make up roughly 70% of the population.

The solution

People are mixed over automation. Some are excited and on the edge of their seats waiting for the next big breakthrough. Others, however, aren’t as enthralled. The fact of the matter is, no matter what you think about it, you’re not going to have a choice. Rather than whine, complain or trying to fight it, it’s time to embrace it because it’s inevitable, and might very well replace your job.

What is the solution? As hockey great Wayne Gretzky said, “A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be.” If your job is one of those that might very well be replaced, it’s crucial that you find ways to work with automation rather than against it.

Here’s my three-step solution for middle class America to be ready for the automation age.

1. Serve

If you’re not the next Elon Musk, the best thing you can do is learn to serve people like Musk who are inventing and leading us into the automation generation. The founders of this revolution are the mega wealthy, and we’re not talking about the top 1%. These are people who make the top 1% seem poor. They are the ones who own a fleet of private jets, yachts and even their own islands.

Serving the wealthy is always a good way to make money, and this is especially true as it relates to automation. Problem solving is the fastest way to build wealth, so ask yourself: what problems are people like Elon musk and other innovators going to face? How can I serve these people? What skills and talents do I have that they are going to need?

2. Support

First there were the big mainframe computers of the 1970s. Then the personal computer started to become commonplace in homes across America in the 1980s. And of course, the invention of the internet changed life as we know it in the late 1990s. The one thing all of these milestones have in common is they all needed support in order to survive. The people who acquired the necessary skills to support computers did very well for themselves. It didn’t matter if it was learning to write code, repair or service computers, design websites or serve as a technology consultant. Big opportunity was everywhere and many people accumulated great amounts of wealth as a result.

The automation generation is no different, and is going to need major support. You can’t wait until the technology is already here and used by everyone. The time to obtain the skills to support these systems is now.

Automation and technology are wonderful, but when things go wrong, they tend to go really wrong. We’ve already seen what can happen when technology that we take for granted goes astray. How many times have we heard about an airline computer system breaking down? The result is massive delays and headaches for millions of travelers. Or what happens when the electricity goes out? It turns our lives upside down.

No matter what the new technology is, it’s going to need repairs when it breaks. It’s going to need regular maintenance and support. It’s going to need updates and adjustments. And this is great news for humans because it’s going to be the opportunity of a lifetime. Of course, the key is you have to know how to support these systems. So while many middle class jobs are in jeopardy and are going to eventually be cut, on the flip side, there’s going to be so much opportunity like never before. I believe we’re going to see more new millionaires than we’ve ever seen in this country as a result.

3. Sell

Salespeople are the backbone of any organization, and there’s going to be huge opportunities to bring people together with products and services in the automation age. Who’s going to sell the automation? Who’s going to market it? The beauty of living in a capitalistic society means competition, and those who can connect the buyers and sellers and close the deals are looking at opportunities like never before.

Of course, any successful salesperson is only as good as the people and products behind him. Therefore, huge opportunities are also going to exist in marketing, public relations, advertising, photography, video production, graphic design, writing, editing and more.

The bottom line: automation is about to change the course of the world as we know it. It’s going to be a great disruptor and impact middle class workers like nothing we’ve seen before. You have two choices: sit around and become a victim, or get excited and jump in the game while it’s still early. America was built on innovation. Think of things like the railroad system, the assembly line, the highway system, the internet and more. Are you ready to become the next great innovator and continue the tradition? Or are you going to let the automation age sneak up on you and make your life a living nightmare? The choice is yours.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/steve-siebold/automation-is-coming-stop_b_12232794.html

VERSABALL® Robot Gripper Challenges Beer Pong Champions at CES 2015

LAS VEGAS–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Attendees at International

CES in Las Vegas, January 6-9, will encounter a new industrial

robotic gripper archetype as Empire Robotics demonstrates the precision,

gentle touch, and safe human interaction of its VERSABALL gripper by

competing with any attendee up for the challenge at a game of beer pong,

culminating in a competition between professional beer pong players and

robot on the opening day. All of this takes place in the Empire

Robotics’ booth #75183 at the Sands Expo and Convention Center.

On January 6th at 3 PM PST Empire Robotics in conjunction

with BPONG.COM,

the leading organization for professional beer pong and organizers of

The World Series of Beer Pong, will hold a beer pong competition between

VERSABALL and the newly crowned winners of BPONG’s The

World Series of Beer Pong. The two groups will face off in a man

versus machine showdown.

Aside from the special event, the new end-of-arm tool will grip and

propel ping pong balls as seen in this

demo video in an open challenge to all CES attendees.

The game demonstrates the VERSABALL’s ability to handle delicate objects

and produce precise grip and release performance to consistently shoot

the ping pong ball seven feet into a small plastic cup. This performance

results from years of research and development in jamming technology,

the foundation for all of Empire Robotics’ products.

The demonstration illustrates how the VERSABALL attached to a UR robot

arm offers an optimal choice for safe, collaborative robot applications

with humans working in close proximity to robots on robust

manufacturing tasks. Many manufacturers are choosing a VERSABALL enabled

collaborative system to eliminate pinch points in the setup, thereby

increasing safety and decreasing cost.

VERSABALL Solves Automation Challenges

Historically,

manufacturers have spent a great deal of engineering resources designing

specialized and varied grippers for industrial production. To meet the

demands of agile manufacturing — typically with a low-volume, high-mix

series of tasks — automating production involves frequent reprogramming

and retooling. For many companies, the final solution often combines

expensive mechanical, vacuum, and magnetic grippers into a complex

end-of-arm tool that is highly specific to the application and not

easily adaptable or reusable.

In contrast to traditional, fixed tooling, Empire Robotics VERSABALL

delivers an out-of-the-box, multitask solution that easily adapts to a

variety of tasks. In a matter of minutes, with a fraction of the

engineering time and effort, VERSABALL can be programmed or reprogrammed

to pick and place parts that vary — like ceramics — and consistent parts

with varied orientations such as objects that fall randomly on a

conveyor.

Industry Testing Leads to Commercial Availability

The

commercial availability of the VERSABALL gripper follows extensive

industry testing of the Empire Robotics’ research kit available since

January 2014. The research kits include small- and large-sized heads,

along with the necessary pneumatic base and accessories to properly

operate the gripper.

Testing garnered significant interest from companies such as Callaghan

Innovation in New Zealand, who is interested in the VERSABALL because of

its ability to grip naturally varying objects.

“The VERSABALL adds value by gripping objects where rough surfaces would

cause problems for suction cups,” said Phil Stucki, R&D Engineer with

Callaghan Innovation. “Overall, we found VERSABALL quite easy to

install, and it worked well for many applications.”

About the VERSABALL

The VERSABALL is a squishy balloon

membrane full of loose sub-millimeter particles. The soft ball gripper

easily conforms around a wide range of target object shapes and sizes. Using

a process known as “granular jamming”,

air is quickly sucked out of the ball, which vacuum-packs the particles

and hardens the gripper around the object to hold and lift it. The

object releases when the ball is re-inflated. VERSABALL comes in

multiple head shapes and sizes that use the same pneumatic base.

About Empire Robotics www.empirerobotics.com

Empire

Robotics was founded in 2012 by CTO John Amend and President Bill Culley

and is headquartered in Boston, MA. The company is a Cornell University

technology spinout with a talented team of PhD researchers and engineers

who are experts in soft robotics and the phase transitions of granular

materials. Empire Robotics extends robot gripping into off-the-shelf,

end-of-arm tools, a historically highly customized and complex field. In

contrast, VERSABALL is an easy-to-program, versatile, turnkey gripper

that enables agile manufacturing processes for small and large companies.

http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20150102005347/en/VERSABALL-Robot-Gripper-Challenges-Beer-Pong-Champions

Carrier to ultimately cut some of jobs Trump saved

Carrier to ultimately cut some of jobs Trump saved – Dec. 8, 2016 by Chris Isidore   @CNNMoney December 9, 2016: 8:16 AM ET ‘;

for (i = 0; i 4)

afterParagraphFour = true;

currentParagraph = storytext.childNodes[i];

heights += currentParagraph.clientHeight;

if (heights >= limit && insertAfterThisParagraphIndex === -1)

insertAfterThisParagraphIndex = SMARTASSET.setDivIndex(i);

console.log(“insert after paragraph number ” + i);

console.log(“HEIGHTS = ” + heights);

console.log(“LIMIT = ” + limit);

/* div with id=”ie_column” */

else if (storytext.childNodes[i].nodeName.toLowerCase() === ‘div’ &&

storytext.childNodes[i].id !== “undefined” &&

storytext.childNodes[i].id ===”ie_column”)

heights = 0;

limit = 80;

insertAfterThisParagraphIndex = -1

/* embeds from twitter, facebook, youtube */

else if (storytext.childNodes[i].nodeName.toLowerCase() === ‘div’ &&

storytext.childNodes[i].classList.contains(’embed’))

heights = 0;

limit = 80;

insertAfterThisParagraphIndex = -1

/* cnn video player */

else if (storytext.childNodes[i].nodeName.toLowerCase() === ‘div’ &&

storytext.childNodes[i].classList.contains(‘cnnplayer’))

heights = 0;

limit = 80;

insertAfterThisParagraphIndex = -1

/* images */

else if (storytext.childNodes[i].nodeName.toLowerCase() === ‘img’)

heights = 0;

limit = 80;

/* images stored in figure tags */

else if (storytext.childNodes[i].nodeName.toLowerCase() === ‘figure’)

heights = 0;

limit = 80;

if (heights >= 875 && afterParagraphFour)

storytext.childNodes[insertAfterThisParagraphIndex].insertAdjacentHTML(‘afterend’, smartAssetDiv);

smartasset = document.getElementById(‘smartasset-article’);

smartasset.style.float = ‘left’; // allows module to have text float to right

smartasset.style.marginRight =’20px’;

smartasset.style.marginBottom =’25px’;

SMARTASSET.setSmartAssetScript = function() ;

SMARTASSET.setSmartAssetDiv();

SMARTASSET.setSmartAssetScript();

But that has a big down side for some of the workers in Indianapolis.

Most of that money will be invested in automation said to Greg Hayes, CEO of United Technologies, Carrier’s corporate parent. And that automation will replace some of the jobs that were just saved.

“We’re going to…automate to drive the cost down so that we can continue to be competitive,” he said on an interview on CNBC earlier this week. “Is it as cheap as moving to Mexico with lower cost labor? No. But we will make that plant competitive just because we’ll make the capital investments there. But what that ultimately means is there will be fewer jobs.”

The decision to keep Carrier’s furnace manufacturing operations in the U.S. instead of moving them to Mexico will save about 800 jobs out of the 1,400 at the plant, at least in the near term. The company declined to say how many of the plants 800 remaining jobs could be lost to automation, or when.

Related: Robots threaten these 8 jobs

The threat that automation poses to jobs a big concern for Chuck Jones, president of United Steelworkers union Local 1999, which represents the Carrier workers.

“Automation means less people,” he told CNN’s Chris Cuomo on “New Day” on Thursday. “I think we’ll have a reduction of workforce at some point in time once they get all the automation in and up and running.”

Still, automation is the only way that a plant in Indiana that pays about $20 an hour can compete with Mexican plants where workers earn $3 an hour.

Related: Carrier to raise prices on furnaces and air conditioners

The number of U.S. manufacturing jobs in the U.S. has declined sharply thanks in large part to more efficient factories.

“You can’t just blame cheap labor [outside the U.S.],” said Dan Miklovic, principal analyst with LNS research. “Certainly many of the jobs that we’ve lost, especially in more sophisticated industries, it’s not so much that they’ve been offshored, but it has been automation that replaced them. We use a lot more robots to build cars.”

Related: The manufacturing boom Donald Trump ignores

All together, U.S. factories are actually producing more products today than they did in the post-World War II era, according to the Federal Reserve’s reading on manufacturing output. Output at U.S. factories is up 150% in last 40 years. But U.S. manufacturing jobs have plunged by more than 30% in that same period. And automation is a big reason why.

And it’s not a trend that’s going to end with Carrier or even with manufacturers.

A recent study by McKinsey & Co. said that 45% of the tasks that U.S. workers are currently paid to perform can be automated by existing technology. That represents about $2 trillion in annual wages.

CNNMoney (New York) First published December 8, 2016: 4:14 PM ET

Terms & Conditions apply

NMLS #1136

http://money.cnn.com/2016/12/08/news/companies/carrier-jobs-automation/index.html

Demand for robots, artificial intelligence rising

Japanese automaker Toyota’s (TM) plans to invest $1 billion in developing artificial intelligence and robotics comes amid reduced costs and increased demand for the technologies.

Demand for robots have surged at a compound annual growth rate of 17 percent since 2010, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Last year, sales hit $10.7 billion, with 229,000 robots sold, up 29 percent from the year before. The global robotics market is expected to reach $152.7 billion by 2020.

“We are seeing the earliest cognitive stages of human and machine development, where robots are able to collect large amounts of data, analyze it and make optimum decisions, and potentially learn from past interactions,” said the Wall Street firm in a note. “Looking out to the future, we are likely to see the evolution of intelligent machines that can sense and understand human emotion and also show adaptability to their surroundings, rendering them increasingly autonomous.”

Toyota plans to open its research business early next year at a facility in Silicon Valley, near Stanford University, along with an East Coast office near the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge.

The automaker’s interest in robotics and artificial intelligence isn’t limited to driverless cars. A robot the company unveiled earlier this year that looks like R2D2 of “Star Wars” fame can assist the sick and elderly. Another machine with a human-like appearance can converse with people and play a musical instrument.

These days much of media’s attention on the nascent technologies is focused on cars that operate independently of human drivers. Google (GOOG) and Apple (AAPL) are reportedly keen on capitalizing on automated cars, as are automakers.

“There is still a need for considerable research to be done before this technology becomes commonplace in the market,” said Martial Hebert, director of Carnegie Mellon’s Robotics Institute, adding he expects additional companies to expand in the market.

Robots are getting cheaper. For instance, BofA notes that an advanced robotic welder costs about $133,000 in 2014, down 27 percent from $182,000 in 2005. Prices are expected to continue to drop another 22 percent over the next 10 years, as manufacturers lower costs through economies of scale.

Performance also is improving. For $100,000 a company can buy a system that can perform twice the work for the same price as a decade ago, BofA said.

There’s also plenty of room for growth, BofA found, with just 10 percent of manufacturing tasks performed around the world automated, a figure expected to rise to 45 percent in 10 years for sectors such as technology, electrical equipment and machinery.

© 2015 CBS Interactive Inc.. All Rights Reserved.

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/demand-for-robots-artificial-intelligence-rising/