/ The 4th D

The 4th D

Applications within the robotics and automation industry typically include dull, dirty and dangerous jobs to humans, commonly referred to as the 3 Ds.

The common misconception is that robots are eventually going to take all jobs from humans; however, robots excel at the dull, dirty and dangerous jobs that people generally do not want to do. Alternately, humans can engage in cognitive work that increases their value to the organization.


Dull jobs, such as loading/unloading parts into a machine, are repetitive and require little human creativity. A robot performing these tasks affords humans the opportunity to be available for jobs that require innovative and critical thinking.

Dirty jobs, such as spray painting/coating applications, expose operators to hazardous materials. Implementing a robot increases precision and material usage effectiveness, while removing the operator from an unsuitable environment.

Dangerous jobs that subject humans to harmful situations include processes ranging from high temperature part handling to other instances comprised of factors beyond human knowledge. Robots integrated to perform these functions eliminate the risk of exposure.

The 4th D stands for Distance. Robots are able to quickly complete tasks, allowing humans to perform more value-added functions in addition to distancing them from hazards. Alternately, an operator working with a collaborative robot can also distance them from dangerous situations.

The 4th D also incorporates the ability to monitor equipment and processes remotely, allowing technicians to diagnose and make informed decisions on corrective action. Remote monitoring of assets can prevent catastrophic system failures and provide customers virtual and immediate access to expert technical staff.

Augmented reality tools, including interactive display technology, remove the distance barrier between technical experts and customers. Additionally, customers and technicians are provided the latest documentation and procedures for remote diagnostics and problem solving.

The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), data collection, and the ability to network industrial equipment, enables a technical resource to better assist customers. Remote monitoring through IIoT, coupled with advanced software, facilitates the quickest dispatch of the appropriate technician.