Even though physical distancing is one of the most common hurdles businesses face when attempting to stay safe during the coronavirus pandemic, many companies have started the process of setting up automation plans as a way to increase worker safety and stay open for business.
Thanks to advances in automation, especially robotics, automation has helped make operations safer and more robust during this challenging time, while still providing long-term investment value.
A Refresher on Social Distancing
There is no doubt that you have heard about the importance of social distancing multiple times by now. Even so, it’s always helpful to review the reasons why social distancing is helpful during the COVID-19 pandemic; since this disease spreads mainly among people who are in close contact for a prolonged period, the CDC states that limiting close face-to-face contact with others is the best way to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Social distancing, also called “physical distancing,” means keeping a safe space between yourself and other people who are not from your household. To practice social or physical distancing, you need to stay at least 6 feet (about 2 arms’ length) from other people who are not from your household in both indoor and outdoor spaces. However, it’s still important to practice distancing guidelines in combination with other everyday preventive actions to reduce the spread of COVID-19, such as wearing a mask and frequently washing your hands.
How Automation Helps
Now comes the next question: what exactly can automation do to help? One of the key benefits of automation is its ability reduce employee density in your plant and create more space between workers. It’s common for employees in food production facilities to be working shoulder-to-shoulder, making it easy for harmful diseases to transfer from one person to another. However, with automation, a cobot can swap places with an employee and create more space between human workers, while still getting work done at that spot. As a result, COVID-19 will be less likely to spread between employees, and less people will get sick.
In fact, the ability for companies to increase physical-distancing measures within their facilities has been the biggest benefit of automation during the pandemic, according to respondents who said automation had either been a significant or moderate help during the pandemic. By following CDC recommendations and shifting workers to be more spaced out from each other, workspaces can become safer for employees, while automation systems ensure that you don’t suffer any loss in productivity.
Interested in implementing automation to help keep your employees safe? If you’re in need of a robotics integrator, Apex Motion Control has an in-house expert available to talk about your business needs. With Apex’s help, you can discover an automation solution that works best for you, such as our Baker-Bot, to improve productivity and food safety.