New role, new rules for manufacturing: A Q&A with Motion's Aurelio Banda

Oct. 19, 2021
The trends point to the next decade bringing more progress than the past 100 years combined.

Motion's Aurelio Banda

Aurelio Banda joined Motion as group vice president of automation back in April. We like to spotlight thought-leaders in the digitalization space when they take on new roles, so we connected with Aurelio to discuss new opportunities with digitally enabled tools and who is leading the pack with automation practices. Take a look…

Smart Industry: In your new role, what is your focus for staying abreast of maturing digital transformations as we emerge from the pandemic? 

Aurelio: It certainly is a very dynamic time for maturing digital transformations as the pandemic has proven to catalyze change. This is apparent as automation technology influences digital transformation and economic growth. The pandemic has escalated the adoption of automation innovations, and keep in mind this was already in motion over the past 20 or so years—specifically in manufacturing—enabling industries to grow at accelerated paces.

My attention will be focused on the automation-technology trend reshaping the manufacturing business model. This will be a key point to watch as greater efficiency—brought about by digital transformation in manufacturing environments—drives business expansions. We help customers stay engaged, applying these automation technologies that create entirely new benefits for companies in the form of new occupations, skilled labor, new process flows, etc. The result is increased productivity in a highly connected digital environment.

Smart Industry: What is the most pressing challenge facing manufacturers? What is the greatest opportunity presently? 

Aurelio: In many of our conversations, manufacturing business leaders cite skilled labor and labor in general as the most pressing challenge in the near term and long term. The greatest opportunity to mitigate this challenge is by deploying automation and robotic technologies. This approach enables significantly higher efficiency and productivity for manufacturers. 

For example, predictable manufacturing environments in which physical activities or operating machinery are performed present a great opportunity for automation and robotics. Predictable physical work like packaging, loading and maintenance provides an opportunity to evaluate all of the manufacturing activities which could be automated, given technical considerations. The outlook in ten years will see automation and robotics adoption at a level disrupting traditional factory production functions. Precision analytics and more human-to-machine collaboration will redefine the digital factory floor.

Smart Industry: How is the technology/toolkit available in the industrial arena changing?

Aurelio: I see technology evolution changing at faster rates going forward. Improvements in hardware and software platforms are generating ease-of-use environments for manufacturing demands regardless of application complexity. New waves of robotics, analytics, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning contribute to significant positive outcomes for manufacturing environments.

Furthermore, I like to point out that these advances push the boundaries with ease-of-use platforms, so machines have higher usage and flexibility for ongoing business. For example, robots are nothing new in manufacturing, but today’s generation of robots can do a wider range of tasks than ever before. And it’s amazing how “trainable” they are by their human counterparts, who themselves are learning on a different level. 

Smart Industry: What industry/vertical/company is leading the pack in the smart application of automation practices? 

Aurelio: Today we have several examples of companies leading the way in the smart application of automation practices in their respective fields. In automotive, an OEM uses IIoT to connect over a hundred factories and significantly more warehouses globally, while optimizing manufacturing and logistics processes, consolidating real-time data, and implementing analytics and machine-learning throughput. Additionally, the manufacturing environment utilizes collaborative robots mounted on automatic guided vehicles to load pallets directly—without human involvement—increasing operational efficiency and safety. 

Aerospace has led in many ways with automation. A recent example is how automation and 3D printing has been used to produce fuel nozzles to scale with no increase in complexity, building more efficiency and quality into the manufacturing process in an ease-of-use environment for operators.

Smart Industry: What most excites you about the near future of industry? 

Aurelio: Automation technology is at its highest degree of momentum yet, and industry will be right in the midst of enabling all the advances in any field. The trends point to the next decade bringing more progress than the past 100 years combined, as automation technology and digital disruption reshape practices and industry. Advances in materials science, big data, connectivity, robotics, machine learning and artificial intelligence innovate industries such as energy, transportation, life sciences, logistics and electronics manufacturing, and the implications for corporations are far reaching. 

In fact, the pandemic paved the way for accelerated change. The excitement I have for the future is what the innovation industry will experience through changing business models. By enabling automation technology and digital disruption, we can reconfigure organizational capabilities for a sustainable, ongoing business and capture more value.