BEACON TRANSCRIPT – According to a new Mercedes-Benz’s statement, the carmaker is currently planning on changing the layout of its production lines. More specifically, Mercedes wants more human workers and less industrial robots. Mercedes is laying off industrial robots which are not versatile enough to adapt to the new specifications.
In a recent press interview, Markus Schaffer, Mercedes’s head of producing, announced that the German carmaker is pondering on the possibility of decommissioning several thousands of industrial robot, which are used on the production line.
When asked about the reasons behind this bold move, the head of the production responded that with the ever increasing demand for customization the robots simply can keep up the pace.
Mercedes-Benz, the renowned carmaker is currently experimenting with different features. For example, the S-Class Sedan can be outfitted on-demand with cooling cup holders, carbon-fiber trim or with four types of caps for tires. Naturally, for a human worker, being told to repeat the same operation or to do something new is not entirely different. By nature, humans are quite adaptive.
Meanwhile, robots are not. In fact, in the same statement, Schaffer declared that one of the main reason why robots have to go is because it is very difficult to reprogram them. To back up his declaration, Schaffer recalled an incident which took place at the Sindelfingen plant, the carmaker’s largest factory.
In order to produce a specific product for a car, a whole line of robots had to be reconfigured. The process took several week. Meanwhile, pending the reconfiguration, the carmaker’s plant came to a standstill. We can only imagine that this incident took its toll on the company’s income.
And this isn’t even the beginning of the issue. The Sindelfingen plant is the backbone of Mercedes-Benz. The 101-year old plant annually produces over 400.000, and each day, both workers and robots handle over 1500 tons of steel. So, we can only imagine what would happen if the factory was to shut down for even a day, let alone a few weeks.
But don’t think that the carmaker will kick out all robots. Human workers may be versatile and adaptive, but they can’t handle the workload of robots. Currently, the German carmaker wants to introduce a new generation of robots in its factories. And according to their statements, these robots will not be used on the production line. Instead, they will work alongside employees.
The latest report coming directly from the Sindelfingen plant shows that Mercedes-Benz is planning on commissioning approximately 1.3 million new industrial lightweight robots.
Mercedes is laying off industrial robots and opt for stricter human supervision.