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Industrial Automation and Motion Control Blog | The Knotts Company

Should You Start an Automation Project Now During COVID?

Posted by Mark Howe on March 30, 2021 08:04 AM

Few things in recent memory have thrown the economy into a tailspin quite like the COVID-19 pandemic. Companies have had to deal with the consequences overnight and come to some quick decisions. As it has become more apparent that COVID is having greater than a short-term impact on people’s lives and the economy, it has become more pressing that companies seek longer-term solutions.

Automation can be a quick and efficient way to bounce back or, in the case of pharmaceutical companies, deal with a ramping up of demand. Although many companies who are just struggling to get by may not be in a position to invest in automation right now, it should be a consideration, however small the scale.

UR_SHAD_2-previewHow Has Automation Helped Companies During COVID?

When companies were forced to close due to the COVID shutdown last year, they needed to look at alternative ways of working. Many manufacturing companies turned to automation to help them fulfill orders and keep themselves afloat. Collaborative automation in the form of cobots specifically allowed human workers to maintain social distancing measures while working alongside the robots.

While some companies who provided non-essential goods and services ceased all operations, others saw a sharp rise in demand for essentials such as medication, medical equipment and PPE. Robots working in sterile environments helped with some parts of the process which was particularly helpful if human workers were off sick or the number of them permitted to work in a facility at any one time was restricted.

Those companies that did not deploy some form of automation found their operations severely disrupted. Social distancing meant a restriction on staff numbers per shift while workers isolated due to COVID slowed production.

Why Now Is the Right Time to Invest in Robotics

Robotics is no longer only in the realm of sci-fi; robots have been an integral part of manufacturing for decades now. The COVID pandemic has brought into sharp focus the need to reassess current working practices. Even when the virus can be contained or a vaccine made widely available, preparing for future disruptions is good practice. In the wake of the COVID outbreak itself, interest in automation among manufacturing companies in the US grew by around 25%.

If you are considering starting a new automation project, cobots are by far the best option. Their great versatility makes them an investment that will yield significant returns. The return on investment (ROI) can be fairly short with the right integration strategy. 

Cobots can be small and operated on desktops or integrated into existing machinery. They can be lightweight and are easy to program and reprogram for a variety of different tasks. This can either be done with dedicated software operated on a handheld tablet or by simply moving the arms of the cobot, allowing it to learn the new movement.

Due to their variety of size and operation, cobots can be an affordable way to begin your automation journey and can be built to suit your budget, available space or variety of tasks.

Take the first steps on your journey to automation by scheduling a discovery call today with the Knotts Team: 908-464-4800 or

Topics: industrial automation nj/ny, automation, cobot, Universal Robots, cobots, covid