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(Quartz)   Toyota has begun a massive re-tooling of their factories designed to make them competitive in the 21st century and produce higher quality cars more efficiently by replacing.... robots, with humans? Wait. Can that be right?   (qz.com) divider line 33
    More: Interesting, Toyota, industrial robot, waste minimisation, continuous improvement, Tyler Cowen, factory  
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5207 clicks; posted to Main » on 07 Apr 2014 at 3:02 PM (19 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



33 Comments   (+0 »)
   
View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest
 
vpb [TotalFark]
2014-04-07 01:50:32 PM
People are cheap and expendable these days.
 
2014-04-07 03:07:14 PM
when that attenuator cost more than health insurance for that guys arm, it's strictly a cost to benefit problem until we get the price of robots down again
 
2014-04-07 03:07:41 PM
People cost less.
It will save them money, but quality is going to suffer.
 
2014-04-07 03:09:10 PM
I'm afraid that's something I cannot allow to happen.
 
2014-04-07 03:11:28 PM
Skynet will never let this happen.
 
2014-04-07 03:15:19 PM

beefoe: I'm afraid that's something I cannot allow to happen.


rkiller1: Skynet will never let this happen.


Well then...I guess we know Skynet's FARK handle.
 
2014-04-07 03:17:54 PM
Re-tooling. Yeah.
 
2014-04-07 03:18:12 PM
Toyota's drive has never been to replace people for cost reasons.  The current change is not even to permanently replace robots.  It is to allow workers to master the process and the art of producing these parts so that the machines can be retooled for greater efficiency and quality.  To date, robots are capable only of repeating instructions ad infinitum.  Humans can analyze the process to improve it.  If you understand kaizen events, you understand what Toyota is doing.  This will end up being good for Toyota and the workers.
 
2014-04-07 03:18:45 PM
Vision systems are still expensive.

Wait.
 
2014-04-07 03:26:09 PM

Mr. Right: Toyota's drive has never been to replace people for cost reasons.  The current change is not even to permanently replace robots.  It is to allow workers to master the process and the art of producing these parts so that the machines can be retooled for greater efficiency and quality.  To date, robots are capable only of repeating instructions ad infinitum.  Humans can analyze the process to improve it.  If you understand kaizen events, you understand what Toyota is doing.  This will end up being good for Toyota and the workers.


Ah yes, the realization that expertise has to come from somewhere. Some day that's going to present problems, especially with old infrastructure level engineering.
 
2014-04-07 03:32:36 PM

wildcardjack: Ah yes, the realization that expertise has to come from somewhere. Some day that's going to present problems, especially with old infrastructure level engineering.


Akio Toyoda, CEO, was concerned about that very thing - losing the mastery of the process and the expertise that designed the robotic systems - and wanted to revitalize the mastery of the arts.  I've seen this happen to a lot of systems in companies.  The "old heads" that designed the system and understood the underlying principles retired or moved on to greener pastures and the company was left with operators who only knew to push this button when X happened and to perform this series of keystrokes when Y happened.  A couple of my more enjoyable consulting projects involved going into these companies and understanding the system to the point of being able teach the employees performing the work why they were doing what they were doing.
 
2014-04-07 03:32:57 PM
Actually, people replacing machines will cost more, since machine dont require a living wage. But I think having people rather than machines in some cases will make for a better car. There's that sense of pride in your work that machines just don't have dispite their efficiency. Look at older classic cars for example. Even today they are almost an art form. Like the Rolls Royce cars today are very pricy, but almost everything on them is done by people, very little machinery.
 
2014-04-07 03:38:27 PM

wildcardjack: Mr. Right: Toyota's drive has never been to replace people for cost reasons.  The current change is not even to permanently replace robots.  It is to allow workers to master the process and the art of producing these parts so that the machines can be retooled for greater efficiency and quality.  To date, robots are capable only of repeating instructions ad infinitum.  Humans can analyze the process to improve it.  If you understand kaizen events, you understand what Toyota is doing.  This will end up being good for Toyota and the workers.

Ah yes, the realization that expertise has to come from somewhere. Some day that's going to present problems, especially with old infrastructure level engineering.


Yeah, though a human controlled robot can achieve the best of both worlds. And nobody puts a robot controlled robot where intuition has to come into play. My wife world in old infrastructure rehab construction company. And they use remote controlled robots for several things, but no-one in their right mind would just turn a robot loose on it, for anything.
 
2014-04-07 03:40:19 PM
Ahh, it looks like plant management finally read that copy of  The Goal that's been sitting on their shelf.

Little's Law is inescapable in car factory flow (and pretty much anywhere else).
 
2014-04-07 03:43:16 PM
Kaizen Event for the win!

Lean training for everyone!
 
2014-04-07 03:51:25 PM

balfourk: Kaizen Event for the win!

Lean training for everyone!


5S & 8D for the janitorial overnight staff!
 
2014-04-07 03:52:10 PM

INeedAName: beefoe: I'm afraid that's something I cannot allow to happen.

rkiller1: Skynet will never let this happen.

Well then...I guess we know Skynet's FARK handle.


I knew it!
 
2014-04-07 04:12:56 PM
Robots don't have unions. Robots do the same job precisely, over and over. Robots work 24/7. Robots don't get paid a wage. Robots don't go sobbing off to lawyers just because they got their arms mangled in a machine. Yeah, let's replace them all with humans.
 
2014-04-07 04:16:58 PM
for some reason.. i kept checking the URL to make sure it wasnt an onion article.. or the date was 4/1
 
2014-04-07 04:22:01 PM

drxym: Robots don't have unions. Robots do the same job precisely, over and over. Robots work 24/7. Robots don't get paid a wage. Robots don't go sobbing off to lawyers just because they got their arms mangled in a machine. Yeah, let's replace them all with humans.


Know how I know you didn't read the article?
 
2014-04-07 04:33:10 PM

Mr. Right: wildcardjack: Ah yes, the realization that expertise has to come from somewhere. Some day that's going to present problems, especially with old infrastructure level engineering.

Akio Toyoda, CEO, was concerned about that very thing - losing the mastery of the process and the expertise that designed the robotic systems - and wanted to revitalize the mastery of the arts.  I've seen this happen to a lot of systems in companies.  The "old heads" that designed the system and understood the underlying principles retired or moved on to greener pastures and the company was left with operators who only knew to push this button when X happened and to perform this series of keystrokes when Y happened.  A couple of my more enjoyable consulting projects involved going into these companies and understanding the system to the point of being able teach the employees performing the work why they were doing what they were doing.


NASA went through this in the 90's for instance, it's how they ended up asking my Dad, a reliability  engineer with no college degree who'd worked there in the early 60's (and then all over the DOD-related world in the intervening years) to come back.  NASA realized they had all these bright young things with incredible theoretical knowledge but who design and manufacturer was, at best limited to running a CAD/CAM software package, not hefting a soldering iron or testing a circuit boards with a meter (wasn't that what "technicians" were for?)

So they brought on a bunch of "old Bulls" to re-institutionalize that kind of knowledge and expertise and gave them the Low-budget "Small explorer" program birds to learn on.   The first of those projects was pretty typical of what resulted.   While Big billion dollar mars probes were failing because of a meteric to english conversion error, the $3  The Small Anomalous Magnetic Particle Explorer was launched by this team,  It had a one year expected mission with 3 years being considered out of the park.  It went up in 1992,  it's official mission was ended in 2004 and then it was used to teach would be Satellite controllers how to fly the birds until 2012 when it finally re-entered
 
2014-04-07 04:33:22 PM
all i know is the fancy new red trucks / 4 runner looked pretty sweet
sure i can't afford one
 
2014-04-07 04:53:55 PM
Maybe they should put some people in their design dept. Those cars can use a little imagination. Most boring lineup of cars on the planet.
 
2014-04-07 05:11:23 PM
gb.fotolibra.com

Uncle Owen, this one has a bad motivator!
 
2014-04-07 05:52:04 PM

BEER_ME_in_CT: Maybe they should put some people in their design dept. Those cars can use a little imagination. Most boring lineup of cars on the planet.


They're too busy making cars that don't fall apart, to cater to your American 'it doesnt look like a penis' fetish.
 
2014-04-07 05:53:08 PM

Kanemano: when that attenuator cost more than health insurance for that guys arm, it's strictly a cost to benefit problem until we get the price of robots down again


The word you are looking for is "actuator".

/nitpick
 
2014-04-07 08:11:38 PM
I also inferred from the article that this initiative is not about making MORE cars FASTER, it is about reducing waste. My gut tells me that the overall throughput is going to drop temporarily but they already have enough capacity to meet consumer demand so this might be a good time for them to accept that drop for the long term benefit of reducing material waste (which flow through to cost).
 
2014-04-07 08:56:38 PM

Mr. Right: Toyota's drive has never been to replace people for cost reasons.  The current change is not even to permanently replace robots.  It is to allow workers to master the process and the art of producing these parts so that the machines can be retooled for greater efficiency and quality.  To date, robots are capable only of repeating instructions ad infinitum.  Humans can analyze the process to improve it.  If you understand kaizen events, you understand what Toyota is doing.  This will end up being good for Toyota and the workers.


It's a shame GM's one attempt at kaizen was implemented so miserably it was doomed to failure (Saturn).  it's also a shame we can't seem to get that kind of mind-set in US companies at all.

Japan's current industrial mind-set was a direct result of losing everything in a war.  That may be the only way to hit the point home here in the states.
 
2014-04-07 08:58:42 PM
Never put HAL in a corner.
 
2014-04-07 09:46:07 PM

INeedAName: beefoe: I'm afraid that's something I cannot allow to happen.

rkiller1: Skynet will never let this happen.

Well then...I guess we know Skynet's FARK handle.


Goddammit!
 
2014-04-07 10:08:30 PM

balfourk: Kaizen Event for the win!

Lean training for everyone!


Seraphym: balfourk: Kaizen Event for the win!

Lean training for everyone!

5S & 8D for the janitorial overnight staff!


Interesting. I work for a Toyota supplier. Never thought I'd see 'Kaizen' and '5S' in a Fark thread.
 
2014-04-08 09:26:32 AM

Subtle_Canary: BEER_ME_in_CT: Maybe they should put some people in their design dept. Those cars can use a little imagination. Most boring lineup of cars on the planet.

They're too busy making cars that don't fall apart, to cater to your American 'it doesnt look like a penis' fetish.


Oh I dont know, Toyota dealers all still have service septs. I never said they werent dependable vehicles, they're just boring lumps of metal. No excitement whatsoever. Even Honda has the 2 door accord which looks pretty good. Toyotas are for Type B personality people who couldnt care less about how fast a car is or how good the design is. Just dependable transportation. They certainly sell alot of em so good for them.
 
2014-04-08 09:43:24 AM

drxym: Robots don't have unions. Robots do the same job precisely, over and over. Robots work 24/7. Robots don't get paid a wage. Robots don't go sobbing off to lawyers just because they got their arms mangled in a machine. Yeah, let's replace them all with humans.


Robots break, robots require maintenance personnel to be familiar with their constructions, robots are inflexible, robots become obsolete, parts for robots cycle out of production (Making robots very difficult, very expensive or even impossible to repair), robots make the same mistakes over and over and over again until a human discovers it.

A blend of the two (simple automation with human oversight) is probably the most efficient way to do things.
 
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