Automation and investment: "Lights Out" Manufacturing

Feb 07, 2020 | Jeremy Goldfarb


Ever heard of the Fanuc plant in Japan? It's a completely automated factory where robots build other robots without any human intervention. It's "Skynet"!!'s the old joke about the employee and the dog -- the employee is there to feed the dog, and the dog is there to make sure the employee doesn't touch anything.


Automation is one of the key themes highlighted in this year's edition of the Global Insight Outlook (click here), and more specifically, "lights out" manufacturing is a very real concept to real life example. Imagine how much energy would be saved if we could turn the lights off in a factory all the time. Now, that would be countered by the energy used by the robots per se, however it's a step. Reduced labour costs means more investment, maybe even better quality production.


I want to turn your attention to an article that I read about "lights out" manufacturing recently. The link is here so please click through it to learn more. The fact that this drives further towards some sustainability targets, it gets caught up in the "E" part of ESG investing, which is also a very real thing. Fascinating opportunities, and from an investment perspective, we want to know how to capture this theme in our portfolios. There are some interesting ETFs you can research and read about like RBOT, or ROBT for example. I have work to do on both, so at this point don't have any specific leanings, but no doubt this is something we will all want to pay attention to. Now.


Two other key themes coming in my next few posts. Keep an eye out for those.


Technology Investing