Two different points of view about adding robots to stay competitive.
The A3 (Association for Advancing Automation*) has a new website and a video on the subject: “Why I Automate,” which shows in detail why it was necessary and how it was done for one steel basket-making manufacturer. Before automation, Marlin Steel was bending steel by hand and suffering a high rate of workman’s accidents. Today a robot tends a bending machine and the company has gone 1,687 days without an accident. Equally important, they are selling their baskets world-wide, even into China!
The NY Times described how many NY-based companies have added space, height and foundation strength to enable the use of robots. Big robots need foundation strength so that they don't wobble and lose precision.
In both examples, the result is that companies retain their competitive advantage in their home location instead of having to off-shore portions or all of their manufacturing or lose out to lower-priced competitors.
*A3 is the 750-member umbrella association for RIA (Robotic Industries Association), AIA (Advancing Vision + Imaging) and MCA (Motion Control Association).