By investing $6 million in robots, Bicycle Corporation of America (BCA) was able to take back 10% of their manufacturing from China and place it into a new factory in Manning, South Carolina employing 140 new workers.
BCA has been an American business since 1905 but has manufactured most of its bicycles offshore in China. Recently, as wages have risen in China, robotic technology has improved, and as the costs of owning and operating robots have decreased, the economics are beginning to make sense when there are processes that can be effectively performed by robots.
In BCA's case, their investment in robots that insert spoke wires onto bike wheels have obviated the need for 100 additional workers who would otherwise be needed. As a result, it now makes economic sense for BCA to manufacture in the U.S. BCA bought an abandoned factory in Manning, SC and created 140 jobs -- a lifeline in this distressed industrial town. But the only way to make it work economically was by investing in robots.
“We’re creating jobs with the automation and being able to be price-competitive with China now and it will get even better in the future,” said Arnold Kamler, BCA owner.
Thus, for BCA and the City and people of Manning, SC, robots are creating jobs... 140 of them.