Does Manufacturing Need a New Term for Robotic Automation?

Robotic Automation has become an overused phrase because of an explosion in the software automation of business systems. Robotic Automation is a shortened form of Robotic Process Automation, RPA, that describes a process that is used to automate existing software applications. The problem is, Robotic Automation is also a term used in Advanced Manufacturing to describe the automation of manufacturing systems using industrial and collaborative robots.

But what is RPA exactly, and why is it different from the use of robotics in manufacturing? 

RPA is a technology that allows almost anyone to configure a software “robot” to emulate the actions of a user working with business software. RPA robots use the business applications just like humans do. RPA robots primarily automate repetitive tasks, and through that automation improve the speed of processing and the quality of work. An example of this would be an RPA “robot” opening a software application, copying specific data sets, then pasting the data into a separate database at predetermined intervals. Humans can then focus their time on tasks that require in-depth analysis rather than the application of wrote rules in a repetitive fashion. RPA allows organizations to automate their business processes at a fraction of the cost and time from implementing alternative software solutions. RPA leverages the existing application infrastructure without causing disruption to underlying systems, which would be difficult and costly to replace.

RPA differs from industrial automation of robots since Robotic Automation in the context of advanced manufacturing is the use of industrial or collaborative robot arms to automate a production process.

This raises a question – does manufacturing need it’s own distinct term for robotic automation? Like hashtags in social media, a unique term for robotic automation in manufacturing would make relevant content more discoverable for manufacturers seeking information on industrial automaton. As robotic automation continues to spread throughout the manufacturing world in parallel with advanced manufacturing, a distinct term for the sector would provide more and more value over time. So what term might be logical to describe the process of robotic automation in a manufacturing setting? Perhaps “robotomation” is the new noun that manufacturing needs. 




noun: robotomation; plural noun: robotomations



the use of an industrial or collaborative robot used to automate a manufacturing or other production process.

Example Usage:

“The elimination of dull, dirty and dangerous jobs in manufacturing through the spread of robotomation.”

“The elimination of the manufacturing skills gap through the use of easier to use, more standard, robotomation implementation options”



— Robotomation


2020 (originally US): irregular formation from robot + automation.

First came into use in discussions between Aaron Prather, R&D Evangelist for FedEx Express, Kathy Walker, Founder and CEO of the eKentucky Advanced Manufacturing Institute (eKAMI), and Alessandra Walker, Inside Sales Executive at Heartland Automation LLC.

Extended Definition

Robotomation is the application of industrial or collaborative robots to automate manufacturing processes in a cost effective manner.  Robotomation depends on easy to use, standardized robot programming languages such as that developed by READY Robotics.  READY robotomation is implemented using Forge/OS, the world’s first universal operating system for robots with the easiest to use, cross brand, robot agnostic programming language.  READY robotics provides courses in robotomation through their READY.Academy and a marketplace of robotomation solutions at READY.Market.