PRE-TEC Product Spotlight: Conveyor Systems from Bosch Rexroth VarioFlow Plus

In the age of automation and material handling, conveyor systems are evolving into more complex, integrated systems that are customized to fit the individual company’s needs. Though the PRE‐TEC Division of Willamette Valley Co. has engineered more than 370 robotic systems and has become one of the largest integrators of robotic systems in the western region of North America, we are always searching for new ways to expand upon our offerings.

Our customer base is frequently improving its manufacturing operations with conveyor systems so when PRE-TEC had the opportunity to join the Bosch Rexroth Corporations ProBuilder Network for VarioFlow plus product back in 2017, it seemed like the logical next step for our company. With access to Rexroth’s ProBuilder product, our PRE‐TEC engineers can design and integrate conveyor solutions for facilities in markets ranging from food packaging, pharmaceutical, medical, to any number of small part handling operations.

With the conveyor systems from Bosch Rexroth VarioFlow plus, companies can move products horizontally, vertically, on an incline or decline, sub-floor, around obstacles and over long distances.

About PRE-TEC
Since launching in the’90s, the PRE‐TEC Division of Willamette Valley Co. has engineered more than 370 robotic systems and has become one of the largest integrators of robotic systems in the western region of North America. PRE‐TEC offers flexible automated solutions, in the form of advanced technology systems that provide process improvements able to meet expectations for speed, accuracy, flexibility, and optimal throughput in all types of manufacturing and assembly environments. The PRE‐TEC Equipment Division supplies six‐axis robot arms, custom built end‐of‐arm tools, and conveyance systems in the form of integrated manufacturing cells for finishing, material handling, and welding.

How Is Automation and Robotics Good for the American Workforce?

PRE-TEC Robotics Willamette Valley Company

“The overwhelming conclusion of industry experts is that automation doesn’t spell the end of gainful employment for humans, but rather, the improvement of employment opportunities.”

– From How Robotic Automation is Changing the Job Market

As industrial automation technology continues to develop and evolve, our PRE-TEC team is here to help businesses all over the country prepare for the future by developing innovative custom manufacturing solutions to help businesses grow. Since the 1990s, WVCO’s PRE-TEC division has been at the forefront of innovative manufacturing solutions and the development of precision equipment. Our team has prepared hundreds of robotic systems through the decades that have led to measurable improvements for the company’s overall “bottom line”.

It is not difficult to understand how the use of industrial robots is a cost-effective way to produce higher quality products and increase productivity, but if you look deeper, you will see the benefits to human workers as well. In fact, there are a number of ways the evolution of robotics are improving conditions and creating new opportunities for workers. However, the use of robotics is not without controversy.

The Fear of Automation & Robotics
There is an unfortunate perception that robots will eliminate the need for the human workforce in the near future. Job security is always a primary concern among manufacturing workers and the projected increase in automation is causing anxiety among the American workforce. It is understandable why many employees and labor unions can perceive automation as a threat to their well-being and job security.

How Does Automation Benefit Workers?
In this post, we’d like to counter those fears and make the point that automation does not necessarily equal job loss. In fact, it’s quite the contrary- the evidence is showing that automation is actually improving prospects for American workers. A wide range of industry experts agree that automation will lead to better working conditions, higher pay and job growth.

1) Safer Working Conditions
By taking on the necessary manufacturing tasks that can be repetitive and cumbersome for workers, automation creates a safer work environment and reduces the risk of serious and sometimes fatal on-the-job accidents. Eliminating these tasks in a fast-paced production line reduces stress, mental fatigue, and injuries that can result from lifting and moving large objects.

2) More Satisfaction
Business experts predict that improving tasks like parts retrieval or transferring materials within a facility will allow workers to redirect their skills to better uses. If machines can perform tasks that are repetitive or even dangerous for employees to perform, workers have more opportunities focus their efforts on more engaging job functions that improve quality and customer service like Q.C. checks, special orders, machine operation, maintenance, repair, and line supervision.

3) Higher Pay
Historically, supply and demand drive wage increases and businesses can only pay workers more if they become more productive. Automation enables human workers to be more efficient and focus on more valuable tasks that justify a higher wage. Manufacturing job titles and tasks are changing and employers are adding higher paying job opportunities like system operators, supervisors, programmers, and technicians to keep operating systems in top condition and running efficiently.

4) More jobs
In most cases, utilizing automation for materials handling results in higher output for a lower cost. As a company grows, so will the need for more jobs in that industry. As an example, the Wall Street Journal cites the growth of the banking industry after automated tellers were introduced in the 1970s. After ATMs were introduced, more branches were opened which resulted in more positions and job openings to be filled for decades.

Like computers, automation does not mean job elimination. Despite their advanced capabilities, automated robotic systems do not eliminate the need for a human workforce. According to the McKinsey Global Institute, more than 90% of jobs will not be able to be fully automated. Robotics and automation will improve production, employee safety, and satisfaction, which results in a lower turnover. Adapting to the “age of robotics” is a necessary change businesses will need to make in order to stay competitive and to help maximize their worker’s potential.