Interesting, because so far the news have told how much automation is increased in car industry. Is the industry moving on? Let’s see. Robots are excellent in tasks that are repetitive. Tasks that require constant change are problematic. Flexibility requires programming that is inbuilt in all humans.
Maybe we have reached a saturation point. Premium cars are today totally unique products, made according to the customer specification. Yet even the premium cars must be made in serial production for profitable business.
Valmet Automotive has always optimated automation. We rely more on manual work than many other manufacturers. This enables flexibility, especially when there are changes in products. This is also a cost-effective approach. Robot solutions that replace workers in assembly are few – and typically expensive.
Consequently, we have robotized body shops and much of the paint shop. In the assembly shop, we focus on training, skills and know-how of our car builders. Because we have noticed something the big OEMs are just beginning to realize: a human is more agile than a robot.
And while saying this, remember that Valmet Automotive is the leading industrial user of robotics, and has been since the 1990s. Over 10% of all industrial robots in Finland are located in our Uusikaupunki plant. So don’t believe everything papers say. Robots are here to stay. We see how far the robots of current technology can help humans. The robots will be developed, but they are not superior to humans – just good, useful colleagues.