Are Robots the answer to our population woes?

True, but robots can move and/or produce goods at far faster speeds than humans. So the issue is: Which has the lower cost per unit produced?

Not always the case. I’m aware of several stories where humans were faster than robots. In both cases because robots were trained for the average case while humans could spot faster, easier situations and react accordingly (or not).



My first job was working in a paper factory that made school and office supplies. One of the things we did was bundle packs of index cards into paper-wrapped packages. It was amazing how fast you could do that once you had done a thousand or so. Like 20 seconds per package.

I don’t think robots get any faster, do they? Anyhow, I agree, some jobs are done more efficiently by humans. The exception is when you build an automated assembly line that does the whole making and packing job from beginning to end, but that’s mainly because no one has to touch the product between steps. And, in my experience, you lose a lot of time because some gadget in the line stops working.

I can’t imagine a task like that being done these days by anything other than a machine … doesn’t take anything one would call a robot.

1 Like

Oh, I agree. Nowadays you have the assembly line approach with no human hands, at least in most places. I’m most familiar with printing plants, where you start with a roll of paper and end with a journal or magazine with an address label on it, presorted and in the post office.

1 Like

My neighbour was a partner in a factory that made the cardboard tubes at the center of paper rolls. He was telling me about all the fantastic machines that were used in the industry and that was 20 or 30 years ago. Now they are probably even better with computer based numerical controls

These are repetitive mass production processes, not what the humanoid robot is for. It it a Jack of all Trades. It does multiple jobs slowly, not a single job at lightening speed.

The Captain

1 Like

Its a good bet that some engineer somewhere has worked out how fast your machine can run and still make good product. Yes, that speed is set and doesn’t change.

But then add AI, where the machine can adjust itself to run faster. How much faster can it go? Or does it make more defective product? How does it know? How does it react?

Reinforcement learning!

Watching an auto plant line operating is interesting, especially in Germany, where labor can be expensive, and hard to lay off.

At Wolfsburg assembly, a coil of steel is loaded at the head of the press line, and the steel is cut and goes through 6 presses to be fully formed, untouched by human hands. But, at the end of the line, people inspect by eye and feel, each stamping for imperfections.

The stampings are assembled in jigs and welded by machines. The completed bodies are painted entirely by machines, Really cute, watching one robot open the doors, so the paintbot can shoot the door jambs.

But, when the body gets to final assembly, it’s people doing the work. Darn humans are so flexible and adaptable, and easily replaced if one breaks.



If you have done a tour of a US auto plant, it is similar here. They show you the assembly line but not the stamping, welding, cleaning, priming, and painting. At Fords Dearborn plant i asked to see the paint shop. They said no visitors. Even deodorant or hairspray can make for paint defects.

At GMs Wentzville plant they had a dancing robot and show photos of the metal paint shop. But no visitors. Video seems to be the best you can hooe for.

Eons ago, when the Fisher Body stamping plant opened in Kalamazoo, they had an open house. I went through the plant, saw bleeding edge 1965 technology, as they were running production. Of course, build quality was not a priority for the big three back then.

The thing that comes to mind for not letting civilians into the body or paint shops now is exposure to chemicals and noise. The final assembly line is clean and quiet. Even the squeal of compressed air power drivers is being replaced with electric tools.



I toured the Ford Claycomo plant in 1975 or 1976. It was a high school field trip. They didn’t allow us in the paint area either.

I took the tour through the AMC plant in Kenosha in 75. Also only went past the final assembly line. At that time, AMC’s body assembly and paint plant was in Milwaukee. The bodies were trucked down to Kenosha for final assembly.


Interesting. At Ford Dearborn, the paint shop was in a separate building a block away. Painted bodies had to be transported somehow.

In the Wentzville plant, the bodies are painted in the back part of the plant and then are dropped onto the frame from an overhead conveyor. Doors are removed after painting and then added back later after the interior is done.

Those in your photo already have glass.

Its always fun going through a plant when you get the chance. Its amazing how they do everything. It would be great to visit a Tesla plant.

That is how it is done now. The framing line is in one building, then the bodies ride a conveyor to the paint shop, then another conveyor to the assembly building. Stellantis Sterling Heights Assembly and the new Mack Ave Assembly are both like that, as well as Ford Rouge.

Somewhere along the line, I learned that the trick of taking the doors off was pinched from Nissan. It’s easier for everyone. Previously, cars went down the line with the doors open, where they could whack into obstacles or people, and they obstructed the people trying to install the interior. Now, the doors go down a separate line for installation of the locks, window regulators, and all the switches and wiring, because everything is powered, rather than manual, now. Then they are bolted back on the car at the end of the line.


1 Like