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What is happening in lean manufacturing in the world
Curated by Michel Baudin
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Buy More Robots? | Adams Nager | IndustryWeek

Buy More Robots? | Adams Nager | IndustryWeek | lean manufacturing | Scoop.it

"More robots means lower unemployment and better trade performance. [...] The United States does not lose jobs because there is not enough work to be done but rather because U.S. industry is not competitive with foreign producers. More robots will help fix this."

Michel Baudin's insight:

Really? If you are not competitive, just buy more robots! But wait... Haven't we heard this before? Isn't it what GM did in the 1980s? Under Roger Smith's leadership, from 1980 to 1989, GM spent about $40B on robots, and this investment didn't make it competitive. 

It doesn't mean robots are bad, only that they are not a panacea. Toyota's Global Body Line is designed to use welding robots where they are justified, and manual welding where not, using the same fixtures. 

In an auto parts plant in Japan, I remember seeing a machining cell with old machines served by robots. A few yards away were new, automated lines that didn't use robots. 

It looked very much as if the old cell with new robots was the result of incremental automation, and that the lessons learned had been applied in the design of the new lines. 

Robots are tools. If you know how to use them, they will help you; if you don't, buying more is just a waste of money. 

 

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Toyota's history rests on key textile invention | Long Island Newsday

Toyota's history rests on key textile invention | Long Island Newsday | lean manufacturing | Scoop.it

It was a single thread that gave a man a dream, created a little history and displayed the talents of a remarkable mind and a family with resourcefulness in its genes.

Sakichi Toyoda wasn't all that interested in fast-moving machinery, just machines in motion. It's how the Toyota Production System began. It's how an inventor with a sharp eye and even sharper mind built an empire...



Michel Baudin's insight:

A summary of Toyota history with the usual omissions:

 

1. Automatic shuttle change. The ability to stop when thread broke was not the only innovation of Toyoda looms. Automatic shuttle change was equally important, not just to looms but as a forerunner of autonomation, the Toyota approach to automation.

 

2. The German connection. Toyota learned much about car technology from Germany through Kazuo Kumabe and his research team, in particular reverse-engineering a 1936 DKW. The concept of Takt also came from the German Junkers company via the Mitsubishi Aircraft plant in Nagoya.

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