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Japan Education Robotics

Humans Are Taking Jobs From Robots In Japan 80

Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) writes "Bloomberg reports that humans are taking the place of machines in plants across Japan so workers can develop new skills and figure out ways to improve production lines and the car-building process. "We need to become more solid and get back to basics, to sharpen our manual skills and further develop them," says Mitsuru Kawai, a half century-long company veteran tapped by President Akio Toyoda to promote craftsmanship at Toyota's plants. "When I was a novice, experienced masters used to be called gods (Kami-sama in Japanese), and they could make anything."

According to Kawai, learning how to make car parts from scratch gives younger workers insights they otherwise wouldn't get from picking parts from bins and conveyor belts, or pressing buttons on machines. At about 100 manual-intensive workspaces introduced over the last three years across Toyota's factories in Japan, these lessons can then be applied to reprogram machines to cut down on waste and improve processes. In an area Kawai directly supervises at the forging division of Toyota's Honsha plant, workers twist, turn and hammer metal into crankshafts instead of using the typically automated process. Experiences there have led to innovations in reducing levels of scrap and shortening the production line and Kawai also credits manual labor for helping workers improve production of axle beams and cut the costs of making chassis parts. "We cannot simply depend on the machines that only repeat the same task over and over again," says Kawai. "To be the master of the machine, you have to have the knowledge and the skills to teach the machine.""
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Humans Are Taking Jobs From Robots In Japan

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 15, 2014 @09:11AM (#46755741)

    My grandfather who ran a decent sized industrial manufacturing company knew this, as well. He would send his new engineers on a year of working actually building the products that they would be designing. This helped make sure they didn't make stupid mistakes like butting bolts in a difficult to reach location, etc.

  • by WillAdams ( 45638 ) on Tuesday April 15, 2014 @09:38AM (#46755921) Homepage

    The Japanese government actually contracts for the production of certain handmade saw blades which couldn't be sold profitably so as to ensure that the skills for producing the saws will be taught and passed down to succeeding generations of saw makers.

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