Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Robots meant to increase efficiency slow production

New technology improperly implemented can be worse than old technology that is already functional. From the Rockford Register Star:

BELVIDERE — Last winter, contractors installed more than 700 robots in the
DaimlerChrysler assembly plant’s body shop as part of a $419 million investment
to make the plant the most flexible and automated of the company’s 14 North
American factories.

The Swedish-made ro-bots were intended to make the place more efficient. Instead, it turns out they are the main reason the Belvidere operation has fallen behind on production of the Dodge Caliber and Jeep Compass, according to the person in charge of manufacturing for the Chrysler Group.

The fact the plant isn’t meeting production targets came to light July 3 when
DaimlerChrysler officials announced sales of the Caliber dropped 2.6 percent
from May to June. The sales dip was not because the car isn’t popular; it may be
the most sought-after domestic new car in the past three years. It was because
workers at the plant aren’t turning out enough of them.


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