The labor shortage is prompting more investments in automation, with companies buying equipment that can pick up the slack on shop floors.
At least that's the take from Wittmann Battenfeld Inc., the U.S. branch of Austrian machinery maker Wittmann Battenfeld GmbH, as it set a new U.S. record for robot sales.
"Our robot and automation business in 2021 has just taken off," Jason Long, national sales manager of robots and automation, said. "We are hearing more and more from our customers that they need to automate."
Sonny Morneault, Wittmann Battenfeld's vice president of sales, said one customer said a new automation cell will do the work of 11 people.
Of course there's a hitch in robot purchasing plans. Wittmann Battenfeld, like everyone else, is hustling in the face of "significant" cost increases and supply delays for materials.