Bloomberg reports that in the ore-rich Austrian town of Donawitz, the new steel mill can be operated by just 14 employees versus the 1,000 back in the 1960s. The mill can produce "500,000 tons of robust steel wire a year" while three technicians keep an eye on the monitors.
The three technicians sitting in what’s called the “pulpit”—a structure like a ship’s bridge high above the plant floor—mostly play a monitoring role, watching for warning signs such as spikes in temperature or pressure. The former line workers spent three months training for their new jobs, studying control systems and working in a simulated pulpit learning how to interpret the data. The other employees maintain equipment or retool the plant for various wire gauges—hundreds of variations ranging from 4.5 millimeters to 60 millimeters.
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