Facing labour shortage, Quebec firms call up new helpers: robots
One worker at Trudeau airport manages to turn more heads than any other. He’s always smiling, never takes breaks and hasn’t taken a sick day since joining the team.
Neo, the airport's robot cleaner, is a manager’s dream.
"He’s doing the floor-scrubbing so that we can use our employees and have them do other tasks," airport spokesperson Anne-Sophie Hamel told CTV News.
Neo works with artificial intelligence and can avoid people even at the most crowded times, but his manufacturer says that’s not even his biggest selling point.
“All of the developed world needs million upon millions of people to do cleaning, and we just don’t have these people,” says Faizan Sheikh, the CEO of Avidbots. “We’re putting a big dent is this labour crunch."
In Quebec alone, there are 200,000 jobs that need to be filled right now, many of them in manufacturing.
That’s one reason Montreal’s Mecademic Robotics was recently presented the Deloitte Technology Fast 50 program award, which recognized its rapid revenue growth, entrepreneurial spirit and bold innovation.
The company produces one of the world’s most compact industrial robot arms, which helps in the assembly of motherboards and pacemakers.
“These are very, very small wires," says Ahmed Mostafa, Mecademic’s director of sales.
“A human does not have the required precision to be able to do that at a repeatable rate.”
Mecademic Robotics counts Intel, SpaceX and GE as clients, and says all these companies chose their robots in order to increase production so that employees can concentrate on other tasks.
Robots have a long history in the automotive industry but it's only more recently that they're becoming more common in many other sectors.
Watch the video above to see the robots at work.