Mercedez-Benz to Swap Robots for Humans for Vehicle Assembly
In a move that will surprise many and is quite far off from current day manufacturing trends, Mercedes-Benz has decided to replace some of its assembly line robots with more capable humans.
The company has revealed that the reason behind this is that its present robots cannot keep up with the pace of change and the complexity of the key customization options available for the company’s luxurious S-Class saloon manufactured at the 101-year-old Sindelfingen plant, which produces 400, 000 vehicles a year.
The S-Class Saloon comes in a number of trims and customizable options which according to Mercedes-Benz makes it difficult for assembly line robots to handle.
Markus Schaefer, Mercedes-Benz’ head of production told Bloomberg: “Robots can’t deal with the degree of individualisation and the many variants that we have today. We’re saving money and safeguarding our future by employing more people.”
According to experts, the car manufacturing industry is the largest user of industrial robots, according to the International Federation of Robotics the (IFR), accounting for nearly 100,000 units shipped in 2014. The total number of industrial robots in operation worldwide was 1.5m in 2014, while the IFR expects 1.3m more to come online in the next two years.