You're reading that correctly: reportedly, Toyota is going against the trend of most car manufacturers by replacing robots with "heavily manual production lines staffed with humans." According to Toyota, rather than having people who mindlessly feed parts to a machine, the goal is to have workers develop "new skills and figure out ways to improve production lines and the car-building process."
Toyotas latest strategy has two main aspects. First, it wants to make sure that workers truly understand the work theyre doing instead of feeding parts into machines and being helpless when one breaks down. Second, it wants to figure out ways to make processes higher quality and more efficient in the long run. The company worries that automation means it has too many average workers and not enough craftsmen and masters.
So far, people taking back work done by robots at over 100 workspaces reduced waste in crankshaft production by 10%, and helped shorten the production line. Others improved axel production and cut costs for chassis parts.
We cannot simply depend on the machines that only repeat the same task over and over again, project lead Mitsuru Kawai told Bloomberg. To be the master of the machine, you have to have the knowledge and the skills to teach the machine.
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