On Industrial Talk we're onsite at FABTECH in Atlanta, GA and speaking with Joe Campbell, Senior Manager at Universal Robots about “Leveraging robots to automate and improve your manufacturing process.”. Get the answers to your “Robot” questions along with Joe's incredible insight on the “How” on this Industrial Talk interview!
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JOE CAMPBELL'S CONTACT INFORMATION:
Personal LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jecampbell/
Company LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/universal-robots/
Company Website: https://jobs.teradyne.com/Universal-Robots/
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Welcome to the Industrial Talk Podcast with Scott MacKenzie. Scott is a passionate industry professional dedicated to transferring cutting edge industry focused innovations and trends while highlighting the men and women who keep the world moving. So put on your hard hat, grab your work boots, and let's go,
you're getting tired of hearing this, but we are on site at FABTECH in Atlanta, Georgia, and we are celebrating industry heroes from all around the world. You know what that this platform the Industrial Talk platform is dedicated to you because you are problem solvers. You're a bold you're Bravia dare greatly and you're solving these problems day in and day out. FABTECH. If it's not on your calendar this time, make sure it's on the calendar next time because you will not be disappointed everybody. Because we got a gentleman by the name of Joe in the house. Universal robotics. He's solving problems in a big way. Let's get cracking. Got Joe, don't please don't let me down.
Don't you worry, Scott, we got this covered.
If this whole robotics thing doesn't work out for you, you got to a bright future in podcasting.
That would be dangerous. I'd be very, very I'd be one topic. I could I could handle one topic or?
Joe, one topic. I bet you a bunch of that URLs out there. Hi, I'm Joe. One topic. Put that down, man. I'm getting it. All right. For the listeners out there. Give us a little background on Joe. Joe, we're gonna get into Universal robotics. What you guys are doing out there? And but how did you get? Tell us about Joe?
I'm an old time robot guy I've been in the robot business over hate to say it or put a number on it over four decades. over 40 years? Yeah, I was I was talking to some of the young team in the you our booth today. And I figured out after talking to him that I had actually sold my first welding robot before most of them were born. And that is a sad commentary on life really is. But here we are at FABTECH 2022. I've been coming to FABTECH for many, many
years, you can see the grown this thing's massive
exploded. I think I joined you are four years ago After spending all those years and decades on the traditional side of automation. And so I've got a whole different appreciation for what kind of solutions you can bring to automation in manufacturing.
Is there an issue with people say, hey, that automation man is gonna take my job,
you know, that is dissipating very, very quickly, because there's not a plant manager, Owner, GM, etc, that I've talked to you, who hasn't confessed that they are struggling to hire, manufacturing labor.
It's stunning how that has shifted? Well.
But you know, the funny thing is the the quants, the demographic of the demographers could tell us 10 years ago, it was going to happen. And what we're seeing right now is, guys like me, and probably you baby boomers are retiring at the rate of about 10,000 a day, a large percentage of those are coming out of manufacturing. Now that in itself is not a disaster. The disaster is we have not made any refactoring interesting enough for the younger generations to come in. And so, so we're losing 20,000 a day, and we're not gaining that many at all. And so the gap is actually getting wider.
See, and that's, that's, that's brilliant, because you're absolutely spot on. And manufacturing as a whole is just so critical to a functioning society as a whole. We need that we need manufacturing, we need those wonderful jobs. It's it's off the charts.
But what we need are these fulfilling jobs that entice people to want to have a career hands on in manufacturing, construction, seeing the same issue, right, we're not making the construction trades particularly attractive. But on the manufacturing side, nobody wants to dull, dirty, dangerous assignments. Nobody wants to stand for eight hours a day in the same spot and put parts into a machine tool and take parts out. welders, they get a lot of job satisfaction out of doing complex weldments they really don't like to do high volume production parts. It's not gratifying.
And it isn't. Yeah, I mean, come on. Let's it's not
it's not and so now people are voting with their feet are either leaving manufacturing, or they're just not coming in because it's not appealing to them.
Yeah. Personally, and you're absolutely right. We need to do a better job. If we're in the manufacturing. If we're in industry as a whole. There has to be this concerted effort to say it market and bring about the real I don't know the excitement of the cool stuff that's happened, it's cool. It is totally cool it is and, and it's, it's companies like yours, who just continue to sort of push that envelope and become more innovative, become more focused on the solution, I like that.
And we get we get across the board acceptance from our customer organizations, the workers on the floor in manufacturing are more often than not happy to see a given task automated, because that's a task they don't want to do. Right? That's true. And so the smart shop owner, operator or executive quickly realizes you can move you're skilled, talented workers, and the higher value jobs, the workers are happy, the shop owners happy, right? It's it's a win, win, win. And let automation kind of take the stuff that nobody really actually wants to do.
The thing about automation, and when I'm sort of there are some themes and philosophies that exist out there. And one of the things that I see. And what you, your company does well, is it's it's the automation that's approachable, meaning you're not making it so difficult to program these solutions, and therefore are able to deploy it relatively easy. And so that's important.
And you hit on it, we call it incremental automation. Right. In my career, the typical approach was to find a problem that was big enough and complex enough to justify the level of investment that traditional automation require. Right? And in doing so you basically excluded any human operator involved. Because the problem was big. The projects were big the automation was, and oh, by the way, the price tag was big. We have Right, yeah, yeah, time was big. Yeah, you take a million dollar project and the traditional approach, it's 16 to 20 weeks. Enter the collaborative approach, which is incremental automation. But I don't have to automate every step of the process, I can pick the one that's the biggest pain to your workforce, let's automate that one. If it's done properly, it can be deployed side by side with your skilled operators on either side, right in the line, solve that problem, and then move on to the next one. So what you wind up with is a series of 75 to $100,000 investments that are deployed very quickly and start to pay back very quickly. Quite often, we talked to plant owners who are starting to see paybacks before they write the check for the final invoice for the system. Fantastic. That is
that in writing, and you've got to appreciate the fact that these, these owners are keenly focused on the bottom line. And that's important because you have the lights on, I mean, let's be real. But being able to do that incrementally, that's that's pretty powerful. It is
it makes a big difference. And we see case after case where you're an owner or operator manager, we'll take a flyer on one. And then it becomes two, and then it becomes four, eight, and they start to deploy the technology throughout their operations.
Let's Let's approach I'm always big into, you've touched on the collaboration, you definitely are all into the innovation in the automation. That's that's all good. Let's talk about the education component, there is a speed that exists out there and then on these floors of just technology and that innovation, just blistering fast. And it requires the ability to be able to always up your game always learned some more always whatever it might be, because the technologies, how do we address that?
I mean, I think you are is addressing it at the r&d level, right? So we're very cognizant of these broad, broad base problems that have to be dealt with. Our job is to not just solve the problem, but solve it in a fashion that doesn't require a PhD to operate. Right. And it's surprising how much work goes into making something usable, you can solve a problem and make it complex that's a lot easier than simplifying it to the point it can be rapidly deployed by a broader base of individuals.
Spot on, and I agree with you 100% But that's where the that's really where the value the magic lies if you can take something complex and make it approachable and deliver value for me and I've already got a bunch of problems over here you know, I'm I got my Oh, I don't need anything else I hear you and doesn't you are have sort of like this academy that's tell us about that.
But the academies is like a breakthrough in my mind. It's something that I first saw when he joined here, but we have an online training program. And basically in the course of about two hours you can you can master the fundamentals of programming and operating in your code button not the most complex application but the fundamental loads of material handling, machine 10, very straightforward. We've trained over 150,000 people around the world to date, it's offered in six different languages. It see that's not that's not easy either you're, but what it does is it sets the table for that automation to enter the plant. And we're seeing plant owners and operators, they're taking their production teams and saying, you know, in the old days, I'd have to pack you off on an airplane put you in a hotel for a week or two weeks at a manufacturer's training facility. I can't do that. But I want you to take an hour on a Friday, and go use the tools online academy to see what you can learn. And it's amazing how quickly they begin to get comfortable with the incoming automation and how quickly they learn. It makes a big difference. And it strips cost out of the project as well.
So you're you're you're all into that manual, you're keenly focused. And I think that that is the right focus, I think that that is the right focus when it comes to automation. And the value it brings, it doesn't impact. I mean, it just elevates the person, the individual to human side photo and to do something, what they want to do
what we hear from customers, I can't get a data point to kind of formalize it, but we hear routinely from customers. My turnover is going down. Yeah. Right, because I have more people doing what they want to do fulfilling jobs. And it's easier for me to hire. Because when I take people on the plant tour, what do they see? They see advanced technology, collaborative robots, and it paints the plant in a whole different light.
Brilliant, absolutely. Brilliant. I, I like that. Now, one last question that as we started wrapping this up, is where do you see it going? I mean, it's that's a broad brush, you guys have always been the leader, you guys have been pushing the envelope you've been delivering solutions all as Oh, God, check, check, check, check check. Where do you see this automation going?
Well, I see a couple of different trends. First of all, the product lines will continue to get bigger and faster and smarter and easier. And we'll continue to add applications. And I'll give you a couple of examples totally out of the space, but they're still fascinating. We've got a customer who is in the construction industry, and commercial buildings. And they've taken our Cobots and built a mobile platform, and they have developed a drywall Sandy robot solution. And if you think about a job that is dull, dirty and dangerous, and for those of you at home who've tried your own renovations, drywall is not a place you want to spend your
time you don't want it at all
right. So that's an example of a completely different area for automation, I think we're gonna see more and more isn't that just, I think the second thing that we're seeing is that the C suite and owners and executives are starting to look at automation differently, they're starting to connect automation to their business problems. And seeing it as a way to solve the broader base of business problems might my best example is a small shop owner, right who's buying a 10,000 square foot machine shop, he doesn't have any place to expand, he's landlocked. But he's got a customer who's growing very fast. And the customer says you got to keep up with my demand. Or I'm gonna have to bring in another supplier. He's got a business problem. And it's first blush, he doesn't look at that and say I have an automation problem. He says I got a business problem, I got a threat to my number one customer, I'm in trouble. automation can be the source. If we can get more productivity out of your current machines and your current footprint. We can solve that business problems with automation. And that's a new way of thinking. Yeah, you
Joe, you've thought through this. I'm having a hard time poking holes in your value proposition.
I don't want you to Well, I
can't. I'm not. I'm definitely not the sharpest tool in the shed heck, but but this is this is cool stuff.
It is good. It is very good. But you wish you were younger? You know, I could take a couple dozen years off. It'd be fine. It's
it's exciting, man. I do. How do people get a hold of you there Joe?
Yeah, you can reach me directly. Personally, J OCA at universal banks. robots.com. always recommend the website, universal banks. robots.com.
Easy peasy. All right. All the contact information will be out on Industrial Talk for Joe. Universal Robots. Hey, you got it. You got to reach out to them. They're cool, too. He's a cool guy. You're cool job. Take Yeah, take that for what it's worth.
Thanks again. I appreciate the time very much. It
was exciting. All right. Well, We're still broadcasting from FABTECH, as you can tell by the sound in the background, but don't worry, we'll, we'll figure out how to block that. No, we won't. And you need to put this on your calendar because it is exceptionally important that you need to be engaged, educate, collaborate, and definitely innovate. Because you're in manufacturing, you're an industry, you need to continue to do that. Thank you, once again, for your support, we will be right back.
You're listening to the Industrial Talk Podcast Network.
Two words, Joe Campbell. Yep. Universal Robots is the company delivering solutions, solving problems, as you can tell by the interview, at FABTECH, which you need to put on your calendar, I might just insert a plug for that particular event, I think it's up in Chicago. So check it out, by the way, you could go out to Industrial Talk, you can find FABTECH, you can click on that link. And you can find all the information that you need to be there at FABTECH. Because I'm going to be there. And I want to meet with you, Joe, that was a great conversation. I love what's taking place within manufacturing and all the solutions that are being developed. There, I'm not going to complain about it and add robots and robotics. And so solutions will always be there. So check them out, go out to Industrial Talk.com You'll have all that information. Do your research, because you need to educate, and you need to collaborate. So you're gonna reach out to Joe, and then he's going to tell you how to innovate that. There it is, man, it's right there. One Stop Shop. madstad cart. All right. As you can tell, if you're out on videos, you're saying So Scott, look at that swag you're wearing and I got a new shirt got multiple new shirts, and hats. So we have gear. We are actually if you go out to Industrial Talk, and you click on the gear, it's up on the menu gear. You'll say wow, because you asked for it. I've been asked by many to say Hey, Scott, where can I pick up shirts about Industrial Talk or whatever it might be? We finally get it right here. Check it out. Stylish. So anyway, if you if you want gear, go out to Industrial Talk people. Be brave. You're greatly hanging out with Joe and you're gonna change although world Universal Robots right there. Thank you very much for joining. We're going to have another great conversation shortly. So stay tuned.