Humans more efficient than robots on Mercedes’ assembly lines

Robots are to take a backseat in Mercedes-Benz production plants

Automated robots are no longer cutting the mustard in Mercedes’ auto manufacturing plants, as bespoke vehicles are looking increasingly seductive to automotive buyers.

For many readers, the return to a human workforce will appear to be some what of a backward step, however, for Mercedes-Benz, the decision makes perfect business sense. The German automotive firm has realised that robots are not quite the bee’s knees when it comes to building individualised autos.

Mercedes to decrease robot activity in production plants

Mercedes-Benz World in Surrey

 

According to the head of production at Mercedes-Benz, Markus Schaefer, the assembly line robots can not handle the amount of customisation that is required in the manufacturing of the new luxury S-Class sedan, which is available with a growing number of options, including heated and cooled cupholders, four types of tyre caps, and carbon-fibre trims.

Markus Schaefer 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.”

The luxury S-Class is produced in Mercedes’ largest plant in Sindelfingen, situated near the German city of Stuttgart. The firm produces 400,000 vehicles per year in this plant and, despite still having their uses, robots are now taking a backseat, as humans make their comeback in order to carry out the customising tasks that require a higher level of versatility.

Mercedes is not the only auto manufacturer which is re-evaluating the efficiency of robots; many firms, including BMW, are now assessing other options, including the introduction of robots which can work alongside humans.
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