Executive Briefings

U.S. Manufacturing Continues to Invest in Automation

Despite the economic slowdown in the industrial sector over the past year, the incidence of actual and planned automation investment is very high in American manufacturing, according to a report from the MAPI Foundation.

The survey findings show that the high incidence of automation investment spans various company sizes and manufacturing subsectors:

• 83 percent of respondents indicated they engaged in automation investment in the past five years.

• More than three-quarters (76 percent) plan to engage in such investment during the next three years.

• 45 percent indicated their automation investment was part of a broader technology upgrading and 35 percent said it was a stand-alone investment. The remainder of respondents indicated they engaged in both.

“Automation implementation exhibits characteristics of both capital investment and innovation investment,” says Cliff Waldman, director of economic studies at the MAPI Foundation. “While deploying machinery into a production line has characteristics of capital equipment investment, it does not appear to be as short-term oriented as capital investment. Automation also does not appear to be an element of business expansion. Rather, it is more like process innovation whose principal goals are cost reduction and product quality improvement.”

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The survey findings show that the high incidence of automation investment spans various company sizes and manufacturing subsectors:

• 83 percent of respondents indicated they engaged in automation investment in the past five years.

• More than three-quarters (76 percent) plan to engage in such investment during the next three years.

• 45 percent indicated their automation investment was part of a broader technology upgrading and 35 percent said it was a stand-alone investment. The remainder of respondents indicated they engaged in both.

“Automation implementation exhibits characteristics of both capital investment and innovation investment,” says Cliff Waldman, director of economic studies at the MAPI Foundation. “While deploying machinery into a production line has characteristics of capital equipment investment, it does not appear to be as short-term oriented as capital investment. Automation also does not appear to be an element of business expansion. Rather, it is more like process innovation whose principal goals are cost reduction and product quality improvement.”

Read Full Article